What is your first thought when you call a company and are greeted by a programmed automated system (Interactive Voice Response System or IVR for short) telling you to select from a list of the following options? Did you ever experience the frustration of repeating or spelling your name 10 times? Have you ever found yourself ferociously pecking at the 0 button, desperately hoping to reach an actual person to speak with? While we can all attest to the tremendous growth and ease that technology has brought to the business world, many of us can also agree that when it comes to reaching out to a company via a phone call, we would sincerely prefer to speak with a real, living, breathing, person. In fact, a study published by Liel Leibovitz, New York University Assistant Professor of Communications, stated that 83% of consumers think that IVR systems provide a cost saving benefit to the company and no benefits to them at all.
Engaging, even with the best answering system on the market can leave you with a feeling of cold, distant, disconnect. The credit card company Discover, for example, must have taken note of this growing distaste for machine operators, and launched campaigns spotlighting its 24/7 service; a U.S. based non-computerized customer care extension. They recognized the value in offering their clients the ability to speak to a “live” person, an almost unheard of
practice for big businesses in the digital age. By simply taking the time to listen to the what their community was saying and coming up with a simple satisfying solution, they have reaped the benefits. For the last 3 years in a row they have won the J.D. Power Award for "Highest in Customer Satisfaction" for a credit card company, upstaging American Express who had been given the award the previous 9 consecutive years.
You may be asking yourself; how does this information apply to me and my company? Well, if your business receives calls from customers or potential customers, then it is imperative for you to know that:
1) A recent report from Marketing Land stated that 74% of people were inclined to choose a competitor after a negative phone experience.
2) Your customers call experience starts from the moment that they hit the dial button. How long you take to answer, how welcome they feel once you answer, and their perceived treatment during the call are all vital components.
3)More than three quarters of your customers don't want to hear a machine pick up, no matter how great the systems ease of use is.
In essence, there is currently no technology that can replace the power of a real person answering your phones and politely asking, "How can I help you?"