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Your Opinion: Business pet peeves

May 8, 2022 at 3:50 a.m.

Dan Schnieders

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Thought I'd write an LTE that's a little lighter than my normal. Most of these focus on contemporary business practices.

Whoever thought phone trees were good for a business needs to be evaluated. They kill enormous amounts of goodwill and frustrate customers. After droning mechanically for five minutes, covering all sorts of topics, most never seem to answer the question we really need answering. In frustration, most of us scream 'representative, representative' and hopefully some kind-hearted person eventually interacts with us long enough to really meet our needs. Why not have a knowledgeable, real person answer the phone in the first place? Interactive phone trees are even more humorous. Sometimes, as you succinctly verbalize your complex question, a computer mimics the clicking of "keyboard" like someone is searching for your answer. When the computer can't find a suitable canned response and you finally get a live person, he/she really consults their computer and when they do you no longer hear the magic clicking keyboard. Funny.

Poorly accomplished customer surveys also need improvement. I don't know about other readers but long customer surveys conducted by inanimate machine voices or emails produce a negative response from me every time. I don't believe the trope "your business is very important to us" just because a machine says it. This is especially true when you get the automatic customer survey emailed to you while the product is still sitting in your backseat on the way home from the store. You can picture some retail manager congratulating themselves for "caring" when you haven't unpacked the package yet. All they are really doing is annoying people. Delay the email a couple days and at least you will be presumed to really care.

The pandemic made this next area particularly annoying. Many smaller businesses advertise via a Facebook page to keep costs down. Most of the time these pages are invaluable for communicating business hours, types of services offered and more, inexpensively. It is incredibly simple to keep a page like this current; a simple password is all that's needed. Yet many times I arrived only to find the business closed while I look at their page on my phone that says they're open. Frustrating.

No matter what your experiences, I hope we all support small businesses, local ones in particular; they can use it.

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