"In order to expedite your call, please choose from the following menu. Press 1 to place an order. Press 2 for questions about existing orders. Press 3 for questions about your credit card. Press 4 for billing information."
Aaaaaand where's the option for "none of the above"?
Way too many companies don't offer one, which means you make the wrong choice and land in purgatory, unable to get back to the main menu. Sometimes the only thing to do is to hang up and try again. Frustrating is an understatement.
But automatic answering systems aren't necessarily a bad thing, said Micah Solomon, author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service. The problem occurs when you can't escape the automation and just speak to a human.
"Setting it up so that it becomes a voice jail not only hurts your customers, but it hurts your brand," Solomon said.
A good customer service reputation is crucial to a company's bottom line. And it's not enough just to offer help, the service has to be stellar. A recent survey found that bad customer service is much worse than no customer service at all.