Get me to a human – fast

When it comes to banking, I do pretty much everything online. I review my statements, pay my bills, download transactions into Quicken, check my account balances, change my address. If I need to do it and there’s a way for me to do it online, I will.

The only time I call my credit card companies is when I can’t find the option on their Web site. So what happens when I call?

  • First, I have to enter my credit card number.
  • Then I get a message playing back my current balance, minimum payment, due date. (None of which I need.)
  • Then I have to listen to a bunch of options, which don’t apply.
  • Eventually, I find my way through the maze to an option that lets me speak to someone.
  • While I’m waiting for someone, I keep getting messages about how great their Website is and how much simpler my life would be if I just used their Web site.
  • When I’m finally connected, I’m asked for my credit card number.

Banks (and other companies, like airlines and hotels) should identify their self-service, Web heavy customers and expedite their call flows. If you know that when I call you it’s because I can’t use your Web site, flag my account to let me bypass the options and menus and get me to a human faster.

This also serves as a retention tool – once I’ve gotten to the point where I know you’ll take care of me, I’m less likely to jump ship.

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About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. His personal blog is at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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