The Wizard and customer service.

"Nobody gets to see the Wizard. Not nobody." ~The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

"Nobody gets to see the Wizard. Not nobody." ~The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Who gets to see the Wizard? Do you ever get the feeling your service providers (The Wizard) don't actually want to talk to you? Do the words "Nobody gets to see the Wizard no way, no how!", have meaning to you? Phone automation, voicemail and computer technology coupled with poor customer service, make it tough to reach another human being.

My last attempt to reach my credit card company resulted in nearly 15 minutes of menu options, voice recognition mismanagement, survey questions and an extended hold time before a real person picked up and proceeded to ask me the same questions I had just answered through their automated system.

Credit card companies and ultility providers are easy targets because they are notoriously lacking any positive level of customer service. But what about the little guy? Mega companies don't corner the market on poor service. It could be your landscaping guy that has a filled voicemail or your car dealership's busy signal when it comes time for an oil change. It could be your local bank branch's lack of response when you need a question answered. All you are looking for is an answer but all you get is silence. (Cue the crickets).

If the words "Put him in voicemail", are your friend, I am talking to you. Stop doing it. It's hurting you, your reputation, your business and your bottom line. You may not feel it today because you are busy. But us, the little guy, will remember. And when given a choice to jump ship over pricing, better features or simply a return phone call from your competition, we will do it quickly and without regret. In fact, we will be smiling and waving bye-bye to you as we abondon your client list.

Don't get me wrong, voicemail and phone automation are valuable tools. If used properly these technological advances can increase productivity, improve time management and create a professional environment. But many times, they are not being used properly or being totally abused. Rather than a tool, they are used as a weapon to guard against human contact. The very thing being avoided is the one thing that we need. Embrace your clients and be human in return. The Wizard is human. Flesh and blood just like us. Every once in a while we need to pull back the curtain and reveal him.

Who is your Wizard and how can their services be improved? Please share your comments below.