It often doesn't happen for weeks and even months at a time -- but this morning, I was disconnected.
The first time was trying to book an appointment with a doctor. The second time, I was trying to make reservations at a high-end restaurant (one that's not, alas, on OpenTable). In fact, I read about it happening to the rash of the newly-unemployed attempting to contact state unemployment benefits offices. Oh, and a friend just moved to a sleek new office. Now I can't access her or her staff by phone, either.
Perhaps you've encountered the situation: you dial business from your mobile phone only to be encountered with the familiar: for this, press 1; for that press 2. Frequently, staying on the line for help from an operator is simply not an option. But with many mobile phones (and like a growing segment of the population, I'm landline-less), pressing the appropriate button immediately disconnects the call.
I'm no telephony expert, and have no idea why these menus work 99 percent of the time from my BlackBerry, but not from a friend's iPhone, or vice versa. I do know that if I can't get through to that high-end restaurant, I'm going to take my client to eat at a place where I can actually book a table.
If your business operates on a press-this-or-that-number to get through to a live person - as a prerequisite of doing business with you - have you tested the system from your mobile phone? From several different phone models?
Your customers are cutting the cord, and often with more than their local telcos. When that landline goes, your business could well be going with it.
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Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.
March 19, 2014