…for using technology to irritate it’s customers.

Our home phone rings.  I answer.  It’s an automated call from Express Scripts asking for my wife.  She’s not here.  The voice asks if she’s available.  When I say “No.”  The voice tells me that the call is regarding a prescription and that they’ll call back, then hangs up.  I get a call a week for over a month until finally the message leaves a call back number.

What’s even more amazing is that they were calling about a renewal order.  Why in the world would you make it difficult for a customer to contact you for a renewal order.  On top of that you’re irritating both the family members and the customer because there is no way to respond to the call.  Of course, my wife could have looked up the number, but why would she until she was ready to place the renewal order?

If you’re going to use technology to stay in touch with your customers, make sure that you’re doing it in a way that enhances the customer experience.  This automated message could easily have said:

We know how essential your prescription is to your health and well-being.  We don’t want you to miss a day without the benefits you receive from this medication.  We’re calling to remind you that it’s time to renew your order.  Please give us a call at ____ or renew your order online at _____. You’ll notice that nowhere in this text did I violate HIPPA provisions regarding confidentiality.


With today’s technology, it’s easy to track whether or not a customer responded to this message.  If they did, a message that says:

Thank you for the trust and confidence you’ve place in us.  Your order was shipped on _____ and should arrive around the ______ of the month.  If your order doesn’t arrive within 2 to 3 days of the date indicated, please let us know and we’ll track it for you.


It the customer didn’t respond for the first request for an order, a second automated reminder that says:

Just a friendly reminder that it’s time to renew your order.  We know how busy everyone’s life is and how easy it is to overlook these deadlines.  We don’t want you to miss out on the benefits of medication.  You can renew your order by phone at _____ or online at ______.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.


Apparently it’s more counter-intuitive than I realized, but you convey genuine interest and concern in your contacts with customers and prospects even when you’re using automated systems.

How do you avoid making these mistakes? Stop equating technology with time-savings.  If saving time is your primary goal, you’ve already lost the battle for customers.  Customers don’t care about your time, they want to know that they’re going to get the result they want from someone who really cares about them.

If you can’t shape the technology to convey the messages of genuine concern for your customers and prospects as well as your ability to produce the results they desire, then don’t use it.  If you doubt that genuineness can be achieved using automated systems, I invite you to call and listen to my voicemail message.  Callers regularly comment on how much they enjoy the message.

It’s the genuineness of the message, not the medium, that allows customers and prospects to feel that they are special – that their welfare is your primary concern.

Author – Dale Furtwengler