In the commercial whirl that is IT, we get to interact with all sorts of organizations, and despite e-mail we still have to use the telephone to deal with them.

Reader Bob Hayes wrote a while ago with an example of a scoring system he uses to rate support calls, so I thought I’d take a shot at my own system.

At the start of each call the company gets zero points. Then add and subtract points as follows:

• Add one point if the phone is picked up within three rings. Subtract one point if it takes more than eight rings. Subtract five points if the line is busy. Subtract 1,000 points if the number is no longer in service.

• Add one point if a human answers. Subtract one-half point if it is an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Subtract two points if the IVR’s voice sounds like Minnie Mouse crossed with a really happy cheerleader. Subtract one point if the IVR tells you that your call may be recorded for quality-control or training purposes. If there is no option to not be recorded, subtract 10 points.

• Subtract one point if the first thing the person says is “Please hold,” and without waiting for you to answer puts you on hold. Subtract three points if the person asks, “Can you hold?” and without waiting for an answer, puts you on hold.

• Subtract three points if the person or IVR tells you that you have to call another number for the service you want. Subtract 1,000 points if the other number is wrong, busy or discontinued.

• If it is an IVR system, subtract three points if you have to listen to a long menu of choices and the IVR won’t let you enter your selection until it finishes. Subtract 10 points if the choice you’re looking for and what you are offered are completely different.

• Subtract five points if you have to provide lots of personal details before the IVR will allow you to get anywhere. Subtract 20 points for every request for your Social Insurance number.

• Subtract 10 points if the first person you speak to does not have those details, and if you get transferred, subtract 10 points for each subsequent person without your details.

• Subtract 10 points each time you are transferred to the wrong person or department. Subtract 500 points if there’s no way back and you have to restart your call. Subtract 200 points if the computer systems are down.

• If the person you reach is guilty of any of the following, subtract two points for each one: barely speaks English or has an accent so thick it’s almost impossible to understand; can’t spell; has an attitude; keeps saying “um”; laughs at random; is obviously eating.

If the person keeps putting you on hold, subtract one point for each hold and 10 more points for each hold longer than 1 minute.

QuickLink: 069530

–I’d also like your scores for any companies you deal with. Send your schemes and scores to

Related Download
Futureproof Your Business: Five Survival Tactics Sponsor: Sage
Futureproof Your Business: Five Survival Tactics

Register Now