SOCAP International

5 Reasons Your Customers Want to Talk to a Human

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and you’ll see why your IVR is not the be-all end-all.

If a company is taking steps to avoid a conversation with you, why should you do business with them?

TalkOnPhoneIf you’re like me, you don’t spend too much time looking for the answer to your question online because it’s time consuming and tedious. Oftentimes, in looking for the answer, you just come up with more questions. I’ll be honest. I reach for the phone almost immediately, so I can get on to the next issue or task in my life.

If you Google “customer service human,” you’ll find websites and articles devoted to teaching you tricks to get on the phone with a human as soon as possible. Many of these links are associated with specific brands: “When X airline asks whether your reservation is entirely within the United States or Canada, just press 0.” Why do people do this? Well, put yourself in their shoes.

1. They want quick resolution. This is by far the most important reason anyone wants to talk to a human. If you’ve reached the point where you need to pick up the phone, presumably it means you’ve either exhausted all other means to obtain the right answer, or you don’t 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 interactive voice response (IVR) system is destined to fail before it even gets started.

2. The alternative feels cheap. Complicated IVR systems that try to route you to the right place make it feel like the company is making every effort not to connect with you as the consumer, which makes you feel less valued. If a company is taking steps to avoid a conversation with you, why should you do business with them?

3. They doubt that your IVR is actually helpful. What if you need Option 9 every time? This means you need to listen to eight other options over and over again before selecting the right one. Sure, when you get on the phone with someone, the call might be more efficient, but will that make up for the lost time listening to endless options? Why not just talk to someone immediately and let them transfer you to the right representative? Seems a lot easier that way.

4. They have multiple questions. If you have multiple questions that need resolution, it means you either have to make several phone calls and go through the IVR, or just call once and get transferred to the various reps who can handle each concern. The latter seems a lot easier. Along those lines, you may have very precise questions that don’t fall into any sort of predetermined category the brand or company has set up. 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 customer who yells, “YES!!” when being prompted with a yes or no question, and repeatedly dials 0 until an agent answers the call. 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, instead emotion takes over and you pick up the phone.

You probably can add a few more to the list, but the bottom line is: Person-to-person communication works, and it’s what many prefer.


Kirchick_Jeff_headshotJeff Kirchick

Bio: Jeff Kirchick is vice president of enterprise sales for Next Caller, which provides advanced caller ID for businesses. Next Caller has the largest database in the United States of caller profiles, with over 220 million records. In his role, he educates businesses on how much money is spent to manually obtain data over the phone, and the advantages that come with knowing more about their customers.