The thing that annoys me most about sitting on the phone in a call-centre queue is the underlying assumption. Companies who do this are saying, in essence, “You are our source of revenue. We rely on you. But we consider your time to be less important than that of our lowliest operatives”.

Anyway, that’s why I was grateful to John for the link to this NYT article about gethuman, “a consumer movement created to change the face of customer service”. They have tips on how to bypass the IVR systems and get to real people.

Companies are slowly waking up to the downsides of annoying their customers. My own bank, LloydsTSB, recently made the news by ditching the scripts that their employees used to follow. I always found their phone support to be good, but it’s even better now.

I hope this could also have a beneficial side-effect: the greater the variety of queries that the operators have to deal with, the better trained they’ll need to be and the more interesting their jobs will become. Well, we can hope…

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1 Comment

It makes sense to me to just ask the consumer if they prefer to speak to a human. “Would you like to use our automated system or wait 3 minutes for the next available operator?” Generally, the person knows whether or not their issue can be solved by an automated/IVR system. Not only would you give your customers what they want, you’d also learn what your customers want (I suspect that younger people, who grew up with the internet and computers, are more likely to request the automated system).

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