OPINION: Marketing Society - Technology and services do not always connect

Big lorry, small stone. Zi-i-ip crack, windscreen gone. Call the insurance broker, who answers at once.

Big lorry, small stone. Zi-i-ip crack, windscreen gone.

Call the insurance broker, who answers at once.



’Thank you for calling. If you have a touch-tone telephone, please press

one for all motor enquiries, or two for all household enquiries.’



I press one obediently, and get another ringing tone.



Braced for a long wait, I wonder if the motor department has adopted the

BT style, which is menu followed by menu after menu, and never the sound

of a human voice.



Or the sharedealer mode: ’Thank you for calling. Our client service

department is very busy at the moment. Please hold and we will transfer

your call as soon as one of our assistants is available.’



This was followed by some slightly off-key canned music, which was

punctuated in mid-bar every 30 seconds or so by wholly unreassuring

reassurances that they still exist.



Memo to companies who use this mode: under these particular

circumstances, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, while it may be less

impressively European, is definitely much more diplomatic than

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.



Or perhaps I am in for the Midland/HSBC treatment, whose centralised

client service department declines to put me into contact with the

market town branch I have been dealing with for the past 40 years, and

my father before me.



Not, that is, until I have given them the third letter of my secret

password, my date of birth, the maiden name of my very late mother, a

letter/digit from my Memorable Date (and what a girl she was) and,I

could be wrong, but I think the last item was the colour of the tail of

my barber’s cat.



But no, it was none of these.



After precisely ten rings a polite real human being told me that since

the client service staff were all very busy, to save me a long wait I

should give her my name and phone number, and someone would ring me back

within the hour. Impressed, I hung up gratefully.



That was three days ago, and still no call back. I tried again

yesterday, with a result which was identical in every detail.



This morning I mentally sacked the broker and rang the insurers direct,

who answered at once.



’Please select one of the following options ...’



But, within five minutes, I was talking to a polite real human being,

who was actually able to transfer me to their recommended repairer

instantly.



The repairer, in turn, confirmed that the job could be done at my home

and no extra charge, and that their local branch would phone me within

the hour to make an appointment. But that was six hours ago, and no call

yet.



Maybe none of them were polite real human beings. Maybe they were all

highly sophisticated androids, like the ones in Star Trek.



Come to that, dear reader, maybe you too are a highly sophisticated

android.



To an aged marketer, well past his sell-by date, it seems that these

days the so-called service companies employ little else.



Gordon Medcalf is a Fellow and former director-general of The Marketing

Society.



Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message