Customer Service Debacles "R" Us

[nik's note: sadly this experience from Toys 'R' Us is typical of so many contact centres and the mere act of deploying speech recognition IVR does nothing to change it. For me this is worrying- as an industry we need to tackle the stigma associated with traditonal IVR, which means we must get next-generation contact centre experiences and speech recognition experiences right first time.]

There are some customer service fiascos that make you want to bang your head against the wall. When they come to you courtesy of a mom-and-pop Internet business, all you can do is sigh, heave your shoulders and say “Well, that’s my fault for going with amateurs.” When the debacle is brought to you courtesy of a national chain, it really makes you wonder how the business has managed to keep its doors open and who is running the company’s customer service.

I called the “helpful” Toys “R” Us customer service line again. I routed myself obediently through their IVR system using their oh-so-fine speech recognition solution. Part of this process included speaking my 10-digit order number, which the system accepted. Informed by the automated system that my order was “processing” (presumably in the same manner and at the same rate that erosion in the Grand Canyon is “processing”), I spoke the words “representative” to get a human on the line. (I had learned, during my last encounter, that speaking the word “agent” got a caller put into a hellacious and circuitous IVR loop of despair.)

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