It was a local company. I know the owners and I like them and their operations overall, so I won't name them here, because I didn't like what happened when I called.
I heard: " Due to the unusually high volume...your call is important to us... please stay on..."
You know the drill. What you actually hear is closer to this: " The person you have called is not in service and there is no new human at this time. If you really want assistance, please go to the window, open it up and plunge to your death. We really don't care."
It seems to me companies use technology for the reverse reasons of why they should. They build walls to keep people out--websites that don't give you a name and a method for reaching someone who is not shielded by auto reply. Voice processing, CRM and so forth.
This is among the chief reasons I am so in love with blogging for business. It opens conversations, it gives customers access and in so doing gives companies opportunities that they are losing elsewhere. For example--customer support. Somewhere along the line, the operations people determined it was just too expensive to give good support from knowledgeable, enthusiastic people. So they shoveled off to remote lands--first places like Stillwater Oklahoma, then more remote places like Bangalore.
If companies had moved customer support into their marketing departments, perhaps a whole other dynamic would have occurred--relationships would have been established. Loyalty would have been built. Some customers would become company and product evangelists. More after-market products would be sold. Such support still exists. The Omaha Steaks ( a website, not a blog--Vegetarians this is not a place for you) people do it, for example and senior executives take their turns. I once had a minor question with NewsGator and found Greg Reinacker answer it through email at about 11 o'clock one night. I never forgot the experience and have been telling others for nearly a year.
Meanwhile, today I had my first rumblings of concern about a company I've done local business with often. All because of a stupidly cloned voice mail system.