Multi-channel approaches to customer service are increasingly the norm and can open up newer avenues of solutions, but they also present responsibilities that companies must face. Specifically, the managing of different issues based on priority. Call center answering services are important, but the staff employed to handle calls and complaints should be able to do so in a way that responds to a specific situation, especially if those staff members are wearing multiple hats.
A post in the New York Times' "Metropolitan Diary" recently presented an instance in which this very dilemma caused user frustration. A customer in line for the service center at an electronics store found themselves ignored in favor of an incoming phone call. When she was told that in-store complaints come second to those received by phone, she thwarted the system (and most likely caused embarrassment) by calling the representative right in front of her, who answered.
Though it's understandable that a company might want to put an emphasis on responding to certain types of input over others, it's easy to see how this sort of irritation could have been prevented: a separate phone answering service to help this company devote its in-store resources to those customers. If a certain policy is in effect, the very least a company can do is inform its customers what these rules are and how they will affect service.
It only takes one upset consumer to single out a flaw in a customer service strategy, which is why companies should be attendant to all complaints, regardless of the way they are observed.