Don’t Worry Customers Crave IVR Self-Service

Call it IVR anxiety questions commonly addressed by companies when considering the implementation of an automated IVR system. Hesitations like:

Am I doing my customers a disservice by making them talk to a computer to get what they need?

Will this implementation turn off customers, and push them away towards competitors?

Will I lose the all-important element of customer interaction that plants the seeds for profitable customer relationships?

Take a deep breath. You’ve probably got nothing to worry about.

Here at Acclaim Telecom, we understand the concern. Even the most intuitive and effective automated system isn’t right for every situation especially ones where that extra human touch can make the difference between invisibility and a long-lasting customer relationship. And we encourage all companies to make it easy for callers to “opt out” and connect with a real, live human being when it makes sense.

But what if the there’s an equally import but inverse factor at play? What if the majority of people say, approximately 2/3 of people actually prefer avoiding talking to a human representative when possible?

From the grocery store to the bank to online check-in at the airport, self-service is simply becoming more and more popular in our country. Sometimes customers just want you to make it easy for them to take care of themselves.

According to the Harvard Business Review, this might just be the case:

“Most customers these days demonstrate a huge and increasing appetite for self-service, yet most companies run their operations as if customers prefer to interact with them live.

In our research on this topic, we’ve found that corporate leaders dramatically overestimate the extent to which their customers actually want to talk to them. In fact, on average, companies tend to think their customers value live service more than twice as much as they value self service. But our data show that customers today are statistically indifferent about this they value self-service just as much as using the phone. And guess what? By and large, this indifference holds regardless of their age, demographic, issue type, or urgency.

This attitude toward self-service has been a long time coming. Two-thirds of the customers we surveyed told us that three to five years ago, they primarily used the phone for service interactions. Today, less than a third do, and the number is shrinking fast.

What is it that makes self service so appealing? [...] On a psychological level, it might have more to do with the unique element of control that self service affords. [...] Maybe customers are shifting toward self service because they don t want a relationship with companies. While this secular trend could be explained away as just a change in consumers channel preferences, skeptics might argue that customers never wanted the kind of relationship that companies have always hoped for, and that self service now allows customers the out they ve been looking for all along.”

We mentioned this trend a couple months ago here on the Acclaim Telecom blog, and explored a few reasons why this might be:

IVR adds an element of privacy for matters that callers might not want to share with a human representative. A thorough system avoids potential for human error. And that extra little bit of social stress that comes with having to effectively communicate with another human can be something that many people prefer to just avoid.

In its place, an intuitive, effective system can solve a customer s needs while still impressing them with your company’s thoughtfulness and care.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll examine further exactly what “a relationship” with a customer means, and how IVR can make it grow. In the meantime, contact one of our telecom solutions specialists for more information.