It’s that time of year when I order many Christmas gifts from catalogs, and I’m always torn between doing it via the Internet or via the phone.
The Internet provides an opportunity to order items without interacting with another human. At times, this can make the process go more quickly and you don’t have to listen to elevator music while you wait. However, many sites want you to register and provide more information than I choose to do. In addition, you have to fill in the field called “Email address,” ostensibly so the site can send a confirmation of the order you just placed.
I appreciate such confirmations, but I do not appreciate the barrage of emails that follows, reminding me of how many shopping days are left, what the latest items on sale are, and telling me that “If you bought XYZ, you’ll want to consider ABC.” I understand these emails are marketing efforts that can be deleted with the flick of a button, but I still find them presumptuous and annoying.
My issue with telephone ordering is more basic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re seeking information, trying to correct a problem, or placing an order, more often than not the call begins with an automated voice that tells me, “This conversation may be recorded for quality and training purposes.” It also doesn’t matter if it’s about a holiday gift or a call to a utility, your bank, or your credit card company.
When did telephone conversations become the manual for quality and training purposes? I would think a company wants its phone representatives to understand about quality communication and to receive clear, concise training regarding it before talking with actual customers?
So I suspect “quality and training” are really double-speak for “This conversation may be recorded in case you, the customer, becomes argumentative. It is a record of the conversation, so that if you call back and complain about our salesperson we have documentation of what was said.”
Maybe I’m becoming paranoid, but the upshot of all this is that perhaps next year I’ll forsake virtual stores and telephone lines and haunt the local mall.