While I am all for diversity and even do some consulting in this area, it continues to amaze me how many companies’ voice mail systems are set up to say “Press #1 for English” right off the bat. And oftentimes before they even say Hello!
Most people don’t like it but nobody speaks up. And who decided these protocols in the first place?
While I commend companies and organizations for wanting to “reach” and even cater to other niche audiences, i.e., for example, “Press #2 for Spanish, Press #3 for French,” why would you risk offending 99% of your existing customer base by making them opt in to English when we are in the United States of America. I don’t think you will ever hear “Press #1 for German” while visiting Munich during Oktoberfest…
Again, most people don’t like it but nobody speaks up.
The irony of it all is that it is a very easy fix. The companies that create these corporate voice mail systems should program them to automatically default to English. THEN, let callers opt in to other languages albeit in Spanish, French, German or whatever. And the reason is simple – it makes good business sense! You successfully serve your primary customer base FIRST while reaching out to other distinct audiences. It’s an AND not an OR.
Why risk offending or losing your primary audience to cater to another audience that has yet to embrace you or demonstrate its loyalty?
So, take moment to call yourself. You may be surprised at the messages, direct and indirect, you are actually giving out. If you are in the market for a new company-wide voice mail system, make sure it is installed correctly. And, don’t forget to say Hello!
This isn’t about anything other than Good Customer Service.
I speak Spanish as a second language, have had the good fortune of traveling and living abroad over the years, and have fabulous friendships with people from across the globe.