I wanted to call the local Best Buy to see if they had replacement Tivo remotes in stock. So, I dial the number and get their voice system. I say that I am interested in talking to someone in a department. I select the TV, Video and other products department. Then, I am given three choices without a useful choice related to my particular product, or zero to hear the list again. As I’m thinking, the voice says, “Exiting the system. Good bye.”
And then it hangs up.
I selected through at least 3 levels of the system, and yet it exits if I don’t make the next choice quickly. That’s an obnoxiously unforgiving and rude design choice someone made.
They’ve automated a process by which they hang up on potential customers. I mean, sure, score one for efficiency, I suppose. Just another example of how efficiency is not a very helpful design goal.
So, am I motivated to get my coat and go see if they are in stock? No. Am I motivated to now use the website instead? Actually, no, I’m even less likely to use their website now.
They have efficiently made sure that I would rather order the item I wanted directly from the manufacturer or, at the least from some other retail store. Further, even if I found that they were cheaper, I am now willing to spend more just so that I do not shop at their store.
Interestingly, they are likely completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve lost a customer. I’ll show up on some voice system metric as a disconnected call, but it will probably signify nothing to them. They’ve managed to obliviously and efficiently alienate a customer.