"We're Experiencing an Unusually High Level of Calls".
Translation = We've laid off most of our call center staff in order to cut costs. We didn't think our customers would mind waiting longer (in fact, they don't have a choice) so we can make a few more bucks.
I know, this is a little unfair - sometimes there really are unusually high call volumes :-)
When it comes to technology, investments are often made that benefit the company at the expense of the customer. I think any business admittedly has struggled with these trade offs.
How many times have you called a company and been asked to enter your account number (so they can route you) only to repeat it again when the agent finally answers your call? Or how about getting stuck in a checkout line when buying one small item under $10 because the clerk has to enter fifteen pieces of information to complete your purchase? Do they really need all that information?
Anyway, my favorite airline (Southwest) just upgraded their call centers with "virtual hold technology software" that means you can hang up if you don't want to wait for a representative, keep your place in line, and get a callback when an agent is available.
On the first day of implementation, 40 percent of Southwest Airlines callers accepted the Virtual Hold callback option instead of waiting on hold.
Very impressive. A true "win-win" for company and customer.
And great marketing.
Sometimes as marketers we focus on product features and benefits and forget that some of the best differentiators have nothing to do with the actual product but the pre and post purchasing "experience".
Thanks for the reminder Southwest.