Free Numbers Do Not Free Up Staff

, , , , , | Working | April 26, 2018

About six months ago, the company I work for decided to create a new small team to deal with what they call “pre-sales inquiries.” Basically, it is a product information line; they can help tell you if product X we sell is compatible with product Y, etc., or what the most suitable product would be for a certain installation, and where to buy or order them. The idea is to free up the Customer Services team to deal with inquiries from people who have already bought our products and have a problem with them.

I work in the technical side of the business, so I was asked to provision a Freephone number for this new team. Our Customer Service line is a low-cost, but still chargeable call, so this would be the only Freephone number in the business. Despite my protests, the management insisted; apparently it will encourage customers to buy our products if they can get free information. I can’t argue with that, but you can see the approaching issue, can’t you?

Sure enough, customers have now caught on to the fact that you can dial the Freephone number, and ask to be put through to customer service. The pre-sales team have been keeping a tally; this morning alone they have taken over 50 calls that were actually for customer service. Management still can’t understand what’s going on. They’ve asked to make sure all the websites have the correct numbers on. They do.

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