Dial “F” for Fanatical

I had to call my cable company last week to sort out an issue with our service. When I called the support number, I was greeted by a machine.

“Thank you for calling ___________. Your call is very important to us. To pay your bill, please press 1. For new service, please press 2. For all other options, please press 3.”

If this sounds familiar, then you have probably experienced an Integrated Voice Response system (or IVR for short). IVRs are primarily used for one reason – they are much cheaper than a human. IVRs are becoming so common that people are often surprised to hear a human voice when they call us.

We think the little bit of cost savings from an IVR are more than offset by an increase in customer defection. Humans are more expensive, but much more reliable and much, much easier to talk to.

Our reception team always talks about how amazed Rackspace customers are when they’re greeted by a real human. They tell us how happy they are that they don’t have to deal with one of those annoying automated voice systems.

At Rackspace, we don’t use IVRs – mostly because we dislike them just as much as you do. Our support line is answered by a human being. You can reach your support team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our average answer time for January was just seven seconds – that’s about one and a half rings.

So what do you think? How does your company do it? I’m interested to see who does and doesn’t use IVRs.

P.S. – Here is a tip for when you have to call less enlightened companies. Visit gethuman.com– It’s chock-full of secret codes for bypassing IVRs and getting through to a real person.

Rack Blogger is our catchall blog byline, subbed in when a Racker author moves on, or used when we publish a guest post. You can email Rack Blogger at blog@rackspace.com.


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