Should you fire the voice mail guy?

Let’s say the person in charge of your retail operations does the following every single day:

  • Puts up a sign indicating which of five doors customers should use.
  • Locks that door.
  • Randomly unlocks another door.
  • When someone figures out which door to use, he runs out and kicks them in the groin, then locks the door.

Maybe, just maybe, after a day or two of this, and a few warnings, you’d realize that this person was doing serious damage to your organization, no?

I called a company yesterday, one that promises 24 hour a day response. I worked my way through four levels of voice mail choices, then got a recording, "Please call back during our regular business hours." Then it hung up. No mention of when regular business hours were, and no indication four levels back that they were closed but automated help was available.

And I’m guessing the voice mail system has been doing this every single day for months or years. Who is in charge of this? Why do they still work there? If the person in charge were stealing laptops or peeing in the soup, it’s unlikely he’d still be around, no?

It’s pretty obvious: the CEO would notice the angry crowds in front of the store, she’d notice the police being called and the riot out front if the person in charge of the front doors was such a jester. But voice mail trees are invisible and the CEO doesn’t notice them. She should. You have my permission to call your company and see what happens. If you’re not proud of it, let the CEO know. If this isn’t your biggest marketing emergency, I’m not sure what is. Invisible doesn’t mean unimportant.