By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Recently, I had questions about my HSA (Health Savings Account). Expecting the worst, I reluctantly called my provider. To my delight, my call was quickly answered, there was no queue, and no queue announcements. I don’t even recall being subjected to an IVR on the front end of my call. The agent was cheerful and pleasant — dare I say perky — while communicating in English with ease and aplomb; I never once had to ask her to repeat herself. I explained my dilemma, and she agreed that their statements were hard to understand, assuring me that she would help me to understand mine.
Telling me that supplemental information was online, I logged in and she walked me through the options to get to the page that would provide the additional detail. Amazingly, she went through this information with me line by line, explaining what each item meant and informing me how I could click on any entry to obtain more detail. Upon doing so, I was able to obtain the additional clarity I sought.
She then said something surprising, “The Web site is confusing to use, so feel free to call back next month when you receive your statement, and I can go over this again.” It was as though she was paid on commission and wanted me to call again. Wow, that’s customer service that I’ve not experienced in a long time.
So for this call, call center technology was not used to restrict me from talking with someone, my call was answered quickly by a personable, knowledgeable, and trained person who spoke English clearly, my frustrations were acknowledged and validated, and I was not treated as though I was ignorant or incompetent. Plus, I was asked to call again.
[See “Call Center: The Wrong Way” for an alternate tale.]