Two unrelated social media posts show how deep and wide intrusive, over-communicating customer service platforms can get.
One states, “I recently bought Royals tickets for a team outing and I’ve literally had to unsubscribe from 8 different Royals email lists already.”
Another points out, “Once you donate…you can expect to be bombarded with robocalling pleas for more donations. Their calling is extremely aggressive, starting at 7 am and continuing until 9 pm with as many as five calls in one day, seven days a week for months and months. They will not stop. Donors soon regret their decision as no amount of pleading will get them to stop harassing you with constant phone calls.”
Once you’re in their sights, they won’t let go. Of course, both posts have little to do with customer service and everything to do with trying to sell you and/or get more money out of you.
Some of this is not new. New technologies and automated systems have just propagated the possibilities. Many years ago, I agreed to be part of the annual Muscular Dystrophy “jailing” to get people to donate to the cause to free me. I was one of four people who raised $1,000, so I got a Jerry Lewis watch and wound up winning a drawing for a Larry Walker signed baseball.
My initial glee turned to dislike as they tried arm twisting me for a repeat performance every succeeding year. I told them I wasn’t interested, but they showed up year after year until I said in no uncertain terms to stop contacting me. I haven’t donated to them since.
One of the newest assaults appears to be never-ending spam texting. Somewhere, somehow the word is out that text prospecting is the new kid on the block, replacing to some extent incessant emails. In just four days this past week, my text spam blocker caught 16 texts, ranging from scams to offers of various types.
On the plus side, perhaps someone at T-Mobile got the memo about not overdoing the survey questions since my last post. I had to call customer service late last week. Apart from the routine queries about rating the help I received, there were no attempts to get me to rate the company, its employees, or its service ad nauseam.
Finding a path to a happy medium when it comes to customer communications will be tricky. On one hand, technology and AI enable more robust outreach and—in theory at least—personalization. On the other hand, bombarding people with emails, texts, phone calls—pretty much everything but smoke signals—will alienate many. As customer service becomes more enlightened, hopefully the ability to communicate in the way(s) individuals want will become more enlightened as well.
One end of the pendulum to the other: From not communicating enough with customers to deluging them with confirmations, reminders, requests, survey questions, and directives via automated platforms and conversations. Clear, consistent communication is one thing. This is getting very noisy and annoying. While most customers can control the level of information provided to some degree (e.g., opting in/out of text and email messages and the like), there also is a proliferation of “surveying” during phone conversations that can get positively ridiculous.Mark Lusky