by Jeff Kirchick (@JeffreyKirchick)
If you’re anything like me, you don’t spend too much time looking for the answer to your question online because it is time-consuming, tedious, and sometimes painful. Oftentimes, in looking for the answer to your question online, you just come up with more questions. I will be honest – I reach for the phone almost immediately. It’s just my personality. I want immediate answers, so I can get on to the next issue or task in my life.
If you Google “customer service human,” there are a variety of different websites and articles that are devoted to teaching you the tips and tricks required to get on the phone with a human as soon as possible. Many of these links are associated with specific brands, i.e., “When X airline asks whether your reservation is entirely within the United States or Canada, just press 0.” Indeed, I am used to pressing 0 as much as I can until I get a human on the phone. Why is this?
1. Quick Resolution
This is by far the most important reason anyone wants to talk to a human. If you have reached the point where you need to pick up the phone, presumably it means one of two things: either you exhausted all other means to obtain the right answer to your question, or you altogether do not care to try any of these means and just want to talk to someone right away. It’s simply easier to sit on your couch and get an answer to your question than it is to dig around for it until you find it somewhere. In both situations, the phone IVR is destined to fail before it even gets started.
2. It Feels Cheap
This might just be me personally, but complicated IVR systems that try to route me to the right place just seem cheap. It feels like the company is making every effort not to connect with me as the consumer, which makes me feel less valued as a customer. If a company is taking steps to avoid a conversation with me, why should I do business with them?
3. Doubt That Your IVR is Actually Helpful
Many consumers doubt that the IVR will actually make the process more efficient. What if what I need is Option 9 every time? This means I need to listen to 8 other options over and over again before selecting mine. Sure, when I get on the phone with someone, the call might be more efficient, but will that make up for the lost time listening to options over and over again? Why not just talk to someone immediately and let them transfer me to the right representative? Seems a lot easier that way.
4. They Have Multiple Questions
Some consumers are genuinely happy to engage with your IVR, but they have multiple questions that need resolution. This means that they would have to either make several phone calls and go through the IVR, or just call once and get transferred around to the various reps who could handle each concern. The latter seems a lot easier. Along those lines, many customers have very precise questions that they suspect going into the call are the types of questions that really do not fall into any sort of pre-determined category set up by the brand or company being called. In this scenario, it’s easier to just get someone on the phone.
5. Emotion is Involved
You know how this one plays out. The angry customers who yells “YES!!” when being prompted with a Yes or No question, and repeatedly dials 0 over and over again until some poor agent on the other line answers the phone. Let’s face it: emotion is involved when you feel wronged by a brand. Where logic and reason might guide you to a simple solution online (rather than taking a few deep breaths), emotion instead takes over and you do something you might regret later. I always try to kill people with kindness when I have customer service questions or complaints. That’s really the best way to get what you want. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way.