A friend shared a customer service experience from his dentist, who sent an email reminder that it was time to schedule his next appointment.  Points for being helpful and convenient.

Only the reminder came on a Friday — the day that the office is closed.  

It resulted in a wasted phone call, an annoyed client, and an email that has to remain in the inbox as a reminder to do it again on Monday…Goodbye good feelings.

There are many little ways that this could have been a better experience:
> Set the reminders to only go out on Mondays or days the office is open
> Include office hours in the reminder so at least those who read it don’t waste their time
> Have an after-hours scheduling option so you could click on a link to select an open appointment
> Text people only when someone is there to answer an instant text reply

I wonder if the office even knows this is happening. I suspect they purchased the reminder system, thought it was much more convenient than the previous postcard mailings (it is) and didn’t give it much more consideration.  The originators are not the end users, and so would not experience the frustrations that the receivers have.

What system do you have out there that may be annoying your customers without you even knowing it?  Are you creating barriers that hinder those who want to act on your request?  Have you asked for feedback on your forms and functions?  Have you signed yourself up to receive your automated services so you know what is sent?  Can you take a lesson from this experience and make some tweaks of your own?

Your automated service becomes YOU to your clients.  Don’t let a robot harm your brand.

— beth triplett

Thanks for sharing Brian — and tell Herb I miss him!

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