Are Your Customers Being Treated Like Oliver Twist?

I completed the first of a trilogy about Call Center Myth Busters at and found myself wanting for a comparison of what it was like being a customer at many call centers.  “Please sir, I want some more” (in this case “more soup”).  But this is indicative of the type of service one might expect when one is looked at with disdain for their audacity to actually place a demand on “their” organization for service.

To start with we are met with an IVR system that is supposed to get us to the right person to take care of our order, question or issue.  Instead we are directed by (in many cases) a plethora of choices to navigate to get there, trying to interpret the internally devised options that make no sense to the problem from the customer perspective.  Once getting to someone the customer sees a triage unit to determine whether you have the “right” to talk to a someone that can help you or maybe you “fat fingered” or coughed during the menu options and wound up in the “land of the forgotten.” 

 Once a customer reaches an agent it often times becomes a race to get you off the phone.  So much for the emotional customer connection. Or sometimes the scripts don’t match the demand.  Such is the life of those that try to get value at service centers.

I have advocated in my posts a better way that is to design against demand.  That standard work, scripts and entrapping technology make for poor service results.  Call center management needs better options that lead to reduced costs and better service without buying more technology or other items that actually increase costs in both purchase and worse service.  The customer management process is ripe with opportunities to improve without acquiring these things.  Shutting off the IVR will give you the opportunity to study customer demands as they present them and find out what “really matters” to these customers.  This is a step that will leave your “Oliver Twists” wanting more . . . in a positive way.

Leave me a comment. . . I can take it!  Click on comments below.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at

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