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Automated Customer Service: Advantages Outweigh Disadvantages

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Automated Customer Service: Advantages Outweigh Disadvantages

The marketplace in the world today is more competitive than ever before. Businesses are trying to increase profits and lower operating costs. Stockholders are insisting that companies make money, thus increasing their stock portfolios. Consumers are busier than at any point in the history of man. They work longer hours and try to squeeze more extracurricular activities into their evenings. Into this arena has come the automated customer service system.

Automated customer service has brought many advantages to today's businessmen and consumer alike. It has decreased consumer waiting times, enabled businesses to lower operating costs, and eliminated the middleman. While it is not bug free no new innovations are. The telephone was not perfect when it was invented, and I'd be willing to bet that the light bulb burned out a few times at the most inopportune moment before it was perfected.

As with all of these things, the automated customer servant will need time to be fully developed. One thing that is certain however, it does offer us many advantages. The consumer no longer has to deal with a worker. There's no call for getting into an argument over the phone; this would be a little absurd considering that it is a machine that is being talked to. Not that I have ever yelled at an inanimate object because it wouldn't do what I wanted it to do. The most important advantage the automated attendant offers in my humble opinion is the decreased waiting times. This allows the consumer the luxury of not being kept on hold while waiting to speak with a human operator, who may or may not provide good service.

Today automated customer service is a necessity. Recent years have shown an increase in the pace of the average consumers life of forty percent. This, added to the stress of today's economy and the era of the two-income family, has given birth to the need for change. That, however, is only one side of the coin. All businesses are looking for ways to save the almighty dollar. Salaries have increased across the board at arguably a higher rate than the pace of life. The answer for many companies has been to automate as much as possible their customer service function. This allows the company the option of hiring fewer customer service operators. While not good for unemployment rates, it is a definite benefit to the company because it lowers operating expenses, thus enabling them to possibly lower retail prices.

What automated customer service has enabled the consumer to do is to cut out the middleman. How many times has it taken a consumer to check a balance on a credit card longer than ten or fifteen minutes due to being kept on hold? I cannot count the number of times that I have had to get off the phone and try my call later due to the fact that I had run out of time. This is no longer a problem with the automated attendant. The consumer calls; the automated attendant answers and asks the consumer for some verifying information, which is keyed in, and the consumer is on his or her way. As a bonus, there is no longer the need to have to deal with that operator who is having a bad day because of a fight with his or her significant other. There is no longer a need to deal with a worker that is incompetent; everyone knows the one I'm talking about. The consumer finally gets through to the operator and gives him or her the information. The worker keys in the information and the consumer is told they no longer exist. Well since the consumer is on the phone it is obvious he or she exists. So the process



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