Idea Factor Blog

Omni-Channel Customer Service for Your Contact Center



The way that companies handle customer service has changed dramatically in recent years. More than a decade ago, there were only two ways to contact a company – by phone or by fax (remember fax machines?). Today, you can take your pick; phone, email, live chat, snail mail and social media. The list appears endless. The challenge for many companies is not only to be accessible in these channels, which is important, but for those channels to deliver consistent and an integrated service quality. Companies that provide a consistent service quality across multiple channels retain 89% of their customers, whereas companies that do not provide a consistent quality are only able to retain 33%. A consistent service quality across multiple channels will significantly impact company revenue. And this is why more companies are investing in Omni-channel customer service.

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WHY AI & Chatbots Make Me CRAZY!


My recent experiences with artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, especially those used for CUSTOMER SERVICE, have left me feeling irritated rather than amazed — and I don’t think I’m alone.


How do I hate AI? Let me count the ways:


THEY Want to Talk Your Ear Off!

If I chat with a human being, I can express complex issues and speak in long, content-rich paragraphs. The person is able to decode and parse what I say, even when there is more than one thought involved. This makes my interaction more efficient.

Chatbots, on the other hand, aren’t able to consume a firehose of human language. They keep coming back and asking question after question. It’s like a chatty neighbor who keeps talking and talking when you have work to get back to. With chatbots, there is a lot of repeating and “did you mean this?” chatter. They have to be walked through a problem while a person can hear the whole problem and break it down themselves.

I ran into this with Visa Card support. I needed to ask what seemed like a simple question about my account. It was the type of question a human could (and did) answer in less than a minute. The VISA chatbot, however, couldn’t understand my question and kept responding with more and more irrelevant questions of its own in a vain attempt to understand what I wanted. I finally had to ask for a human.


Chatbots Take More Time Than a Human

Since chatbots are so inefficient in their “speech” they take a lot longer to find a solution outside the most common ones. That would be only mildly annoying if they offered a single interaction such as “What can I help you with?” followed by a “Is this what you are looking for?” answer and then a pivot to a human agent if it didn’t resolve your issue. I also find the voice extremely condescending in it’s over-zealous desire to sound like a human.

Unfortunately, that’s not how they work. Instead, they continue to ask questions until you give up. Sometimes, they don’t give up even when you demand a human. I recently went to the Verizon Wireless customer service chat expecting a human. It was obvious I was speaking to a chatbot — it kept making really silly suggestions — and I demanded an agent. The chatbot persisted until I asked for an agent THREE TIMES and then it sent me into the chat queue. The question was more complex than the chatbot could handle but it wouldn’t give up. The chatbot wasted my time before finally getting me to an agent that could help … two minutes later.


It’s Not About Service — It’s About Costs

Chatbots leave one with the impression that chatbots are not intended to front-end a human interaction or gather information to make that interaction more meaningful. Instead, it is pretty obvious that chatbots exist to keep you from speaking to a human. They are just like interactive voice responses (IVR), which also exist to save costs by keeping you from a human, only they require more effort.

It’s much easier to say a simple command or press “1” on your telephone keypad (although, in all fairness, I do find myself yelling “Agent!” at the IVR voice recognition a lot. So I guess I hate IVRs as much as chatbots.)

What makes the cost shift obvious is the implementation of most customer service chatbots. They don’t ask for some basic information (account number or product model) which could then be used by a human agent. Instead, they try to solve the problem and keep doing that even when it’s out of its league. This is just an IVR jail, only with more typing.

In the end, when I am answered by this level of technology, I’m left with a very firm impression that this company does not want my business.

Ahhh – how great it is to have OPTIONS!


Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to



Customer Service at it’s BEST!


Thank you to the staff at Saks Fifth Avenue in Canada for remembering and demonstrating the lost art of Customer Service with a SMILE!

I had the pleasure of visiting the new store which is attached to The Bay on Queen in Toronto. It’s a beautiful store with lots of lovely things to look at — but the best part is the Staff. Read More

Is Your Workplace a HAPPY One?

smiley faces

Last night I entertained one of my husband’s clients at our home for dinner.

It isn’t something that we do often — however we had run into this particular couple at a number of events and it seemed that we were destined to meet.

During the course of the evening — as always — our conversation turned to business. Read More

Are YOU an IT Provider?


black and white light bulb

If so — THANK YOU!

Today’s businesses are so dependent on IT Solutions. In fact — as you well know — it’s the lifeblood of any organization today.

Just be denied access to your email for an hour and watch how people behave.

It’s like we are cut off from all forms of civilization. Can’t you just hear the sighing and moaning and rolling of the eyes, pacing around the office. Hitting send/receive over and over and over again? Read More