Which is worse: Voice mail? Or human operators?

Which is worse: Voice mail? Or human operators?

Voice mail hellYou could practically hear poor Seth Godin’s teeth grinding Sunday when he wrote about a recent agonizing encounter with corporate voice mail. You know the drill: you finally work your way through four or five menus, then end up with a recording, “Sorry, we’re closed.”

No human employee could get away with that kind of behavior. It’s like slapping a customer across the mouth, then slamming the door in their face.

Suppose an employee pulled this kind of stuff every day? asks Seth:

  • Puts up a sign indicating which of five doors customers should use.
  • Locks that door.
  • Randomly unlocks another door.
  • When someone figures out which door to use, he runs out and kicks them in the groin, then locks the door.”

How long would it take you to fire that clown?

But hiring human beings to answer the phone isn’t always the best answer, unfortunately. A few years ago a company I worked with decided to go “customer-friendly” and finally got rid of their (terrible) voice mail system.

Result: It took 3-5x longer to get through to your party with the human operator than the old VM system.

Like they say, be careful what you wish for…

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