Yesterday speech was on the cover of AM New York– the free newspaper that new yorkers stumble onto the subway with every morning and try to read while being squashed by other irritated, tired New Yorkers. Oh, yes, speech-head’s it’s a glamorous life we lead here in the over-priced Isle of Manhattan.
Anyhow, it was brought to my attention that AM New York did a speech article titled: In Welcome Throwback More Companies Link Callers With Live Operators.
If it’s not clear from headline, in said article, AM New York rejoices that customers might be connected more easily with call agents. Now, I’m not totally against this, and I also think that these days when people call particular automated systems, they often know that they need to speak to an agent. Throwing a bizarre call tree in the middle does tend to infuriate people.
Case in point: I’ve had to call my student loan lender, Access group. AG, which I only call when I have a problem that needs to be resolved by an agent. Every time I call, I get the righteous automated voice saying, “you can go to our website to do XYZ.” My response is (in addition to #$%#) is well, I’m not calling for XYZ, and I KNOW. While I can see the point of such a feature, I also think it’s patently obvious that you can go to a website to do almost anything these days, especially simple tasks like checking to see how much ridiculous student loan debt you’ve accumulated and how much a monthly payment is.
I would have gone to the website if I didn’t need to talk to a person. Being reminded of that tends to annoy me because I have to hear it EVERY time I call. I wonder than if a solution to that problem would be to track callers and only play that message once, at most, twice.
Also, something I realized when I complained about the IVR to my co-worker and he said, well, that didn’t seem to take long though. Which was news to me, because it felt long. Which is important I think. My trip to the dentist may have not been long, but may feel like hours if things go badly. Not being able to get to an agent easily makes a person annoyed, and it feels like forever when you need to get something important resolved.
Now of course it’s not just my student loan lender who’s a culprit here. Lots of automated systems do the same thing, and it’s the reason why articles like this are written and why customers are annoyed.
According to analysts–like Jim Larson, who I talked to for my upcoming feature on what’s new in speech, this idea of letting people get to agents faster will catch on. I think that speech technology and this change could co-exist peacefully though, don’t you?
Sometimes automation is good: for ex., if I’m on the go (I don’t have a phone w/ internet) I sometimes need to call for a balance, and then I do want to get to the automation and get it quickly. Speaking of which, I have to find out if I get charged fees if I use my card overseas, an answer I was unable to find on..you guessed it…the Chase website…
Wish me luck, speech-heads. Wish me luck.