I normally get my fair share of laughs (and tears) from listening to user call recordings and their experiences while using automated systems. But a friend of mine just sent me one from a user interacting with a call center agent.
We all know that the use of jargon and technical terminology can cause confusion on the user’s mind, but this is one of those rare cases where the problem comes from the branding decisions the company made.
To be honest with you, at first I though it was a prank call, but then over the course of the call you can hear traffic noise on the background (the user seems to have been calling from a public phone), and even some side-speech towards the end, so I think this was indeed a real caller with real concerns and confusion.
Just a little bit of background first. The name of the company is Telcel, and they are one of the largest cell phone service providers in Mexico, and as most service providers in the US, they also provide pre-paid plan alternatives. Just like AT&T has branded such plans as ” GoPhone“, in this case they opted for the name “Amigo”, which when translated literally means “Friend”, and that’s where the confusion started…
Disclaimer: If you speak Spanish, I suggest listening to the whole call first. Otherwise, simply scroll down and read the a translated transcription of some interaction snippets that are a good testament of what can go wrong when you have confusing product names.
Priceless conversation points:
[User] “When I want to make a call, it tells me that my Amigo’s balance has been used-up. But I want to know about my balance, not my friend’s balance”
[Agent] (you can almost hear her laughing her head off)
[User] “I’m not interested in knowing if my friend has a balance, I want to know mine”
At that point, the agent kindly explains to the user that if she’s consulting the balance from her phone, then that means the balance she is hearing belongs to her, and that “Amigo” is simply the name of the service.
Nevertheless, the user continues:
“It also tells me that I can add $30 of airtime with an Amigo. So, do I have to give $30 to my friend to do so?”
Amazing, isn’t it? Well, aside from the funny aspects of it, the other part that I noticed is that even though the agent understood the situation and could probably tell that this user is struggling with the concepts, she doesn’t adapt her conversation to the current situation and sticks to scripted messages, full of more branded terms and jargon such as “to make a deposit you’ll require an electronic record or re-charge card”, “you will need to visit a location to buy an Amigo card to enter it into your phone, scratching the access code and dialing *333″
In my last post I talked about the elements that all recovery strategies should have, but in this case, even though the agent explained the situation and provided a solution, I think she left the empathy out of the question, probably leaving our “Amiga” even more confused.