800-Line Customer Service Greetings That Make You Cringe

You’ve got to hear this to believe it.

While lots of attention is focused these days on new service delivery channels – mobile apps, social media, online communities, etc. – the good ol’ 800-line remains the channel of choice for most consumers around the globe (preferred by 85%, according to a recent Accenture study).

It’s for this reason that the 800-line is an important touchpoint to focus on when trying to create satisfying (or even great) customer experiences.  How you manage your 800-line, and what kind of personality you inject into it, sends a clear signal to consumers about what it’s like to do business with you.

Which brings us to today’s example of a customer touchpoint so cringeworthy that all one can say about it is, “folks, you just can’t make this stuff up…”

Take a listen to the 800-line greeting for Simmons Bedding Company, a major mattress manufacturer.  Just one tip before you play the recording:  see if you can figure out what Simmons’ hours of operation are (it only takes 40 seconds for them to explain it):


Simmons Bedding Company 800-Line Greeting


This is a classic example of infusing an 800-line touchpoint with brand characteristics so unflattering – inaccessibility, coldness, and friction – that it’s hard to imagine any consumer walking away with a positive, memorable impression.

The true brand, culture and service ethic of an organization inevitably seeps into its customer touchpoints.  So, if Simmons’ 800-line greeting sounds so unfriendly, just imagine what the rest of their service experience must have been like!  No doubt it made customers hide under their mattresses (until the company went bankrupt in 2009, which is what this kind of awful customer experience will get you).

Need a palate cleanser?  Take a listen to the 800-line greeting consumers encounter when calling L.L. Bean, a company that’s long been admired for its great customer experience:


L.L. Bean 800-Line Greeting


Doesn’t that feel better?

So, time to ask yourself:  What signals are you sending through your company’s 800-line?


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