So you've been placed on hold (again) and are convinced that customer service has left the building --for Bangalore, perhaps.
But there's a neat solution taking shape. It's called NoPhoneTrees.com,
and it could eliminate the phone-tree headache. It's from a San
Francisco-based company called Bringo. How it works is amazing: You
click on the company you want to call, and enter your phone number and hang up. NoPhoneTrees dials the company,
circumvents their phone tree, and calls you back when you are in queue
for the next customer service rep., shaving off valuable on-hold time.
Perfect for days when you're multi-tasking, or your minutes are running out.
It's still in demo mode so it looks like a web site with limited lists of lists. (In insurance, Humana and Geico are listed, but no State Farm). But The company says the full service will launch soon.
I see great potential. I don't know about you, but I add pauses into my speed dials so that the technology zips through the phone tree of frequently called numbers --airlines, credit card companies, even calling cards, and doctor's offices. I would like to see how this could work when I'm driving, and don't want to tie up the phone while waiting in the queue to check a flight status. What if the service wold allow us to set a day and time in advance, so we could get into the phone queue of the airline, three days down the road just to make sure the flight's not delayed?
What's this to do with marketing communication? Consider
this. It's a free service to anyone, but as the go-between, it could
easily ask customers to pay back for the service with their attention.
No I don't mean listen to an ad --through that's the predictable model
to go after. It could be a 15- second survey of the company you just
spoke to. Surveys are everywhere. You've seen companies use register
receipts inviting customers to do a phone survey, redeemable for a gift
card or generous coupon. To use the airline example again, if US Airways
gave you 100 air miles if you answered a 5-question survey at the end
of your phone-tree-avoided call to Flight Reservations, would you say
no? If Kinkos gave offered 10-color copies, or Borders gave you a coupon for a latte for taking a survey?
Customers will trade off attention for value-added service or products. Marketers value timely feedback. Someone who allows you to to put a spike through the heart of the phone tree could create a win-win situation for both.