Pick Up, Please!

In this day and age, where customer engagement and customer centricity is on everybody's lips, it is astonishing that companies seem to have stopped answering the phone.

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The other day, I spent a good half hour trying to reach my airline for an answer on a simple but pressing matter. I searched my app and the homepage meticulously without luck – only hitting jackpot, when I actually googled a phone number. But, as it turned out, I still had miles to go… I called the number and was met by a rather dismal automatic voice telling me to enter my nine digit Eurobonus number and a hashtag. As I didn’t have it within reach or know it by heart, I sat paralysed while the message repeated over and over. I was about to give up and hang up, when the message changed: “Please hold for personal service”. YES! Exactly what I need. But lo and behold, a new (still pretty dull) recorded voice now started ranting on about how I am all important and they are always trying to improve the customer experience, so if I’d please press 1 to participate in the customer satisfaction survey. I didn’t, so I pressed 2 only to have the voice ask me to press 1 or 2 depending on the kind of help, I was in need of. Answering this left me hanging for another 4 or 5 minutes with lovely music until I was finally serviced by a lovely and very helpful SAS employee.

This is hardly a unique experience, and SAS is probably no better or worse than most. I, however, fail to understand why companies that recognise customers as their most important asset has to make simple contact so complicated.