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noreply@: Downfall of Traditional Call Centers

Call centers are up for a long overdue upgrade. Most of them suck.

We all know this to be true on a very basic level. We hate calling our service provider. The bank. Or any other business for that matter. They just all suck at offering decent services via their call centers.

Here's one of the things that greatly annoy me: the noreply@ email address.

This happened to me last month, and I just had to share it here.

I had an appointment to make. One I've been delaying for too long -- going to the dental hygienist. I usually have my schedules done way in advance, so that I get to her about every four to six months, the first patient of the day. Last time I must have failed to make that appointment, because I don't recall the last time I saw her.

Dental-related services in Israel aren't done through self-service portals at the moment, so I ended up waiting online in the contact center and scheduling my appointment. The end result? The email below:

Sorry for the Hebrew...

The part here that's great is the underlined/bold sentence near the end. Loosely translated, it reads as:

    Please do not reply to this message. To inquire about the visit or any other information please contact us in our clinic or call *6300.

While we're at it, this also arrived via SMS -- and you can't reply to the SMS either.

What gives?

Is this omnichannel? Being able to support voice, SMS, and email while at the same time placing a "noreply" restriction on SMS and email? How's that for a service?

We've got two-way SMS. We've got "intelligent" ticketing systems that can handle emails. We can do these things. Out of the box. Without a lot of effort.

I'm not asking for Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp connectivity here. All I want is the ability for me to reach out back to your business in the channel through which you communicated with me.

I'm whining because in this case, the service provider is the second largest health organization in Israel. It should know better.

What about your organization?

What channels of communication do you have opened up in front of your customers?

Are they one-way channels or two-way channels?

Do you even want to talk to your customers and know what they need? How about knowing what they're thinking?

Oh, and if you happen to be in San Francisco for Kranky Geek, then try not looking straight into my mouth -- the dental hygienist will only see me in December.