Get the Balance Right: Live Agent vs. Automation

It seems like whenever I tell someone that my company produces the prerecorded voice prompts and messages heard on automated phone systems, I get a response like this…  

Is this your customer?

Is this your customer?

“I hate those things” or “I usually just start pressing 0.”

I guess it does hurt my feelings a bit.   You know, I am a sensitive sort of guy.  I usually just respond with…

“Oh, you must have called a company that hasn’t hired GM Voices for our user design enhancement services!”

Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do here at GM Voices where we create the best voice brands in the country. Our natural-sounding voice actors create virtual personas that help our customers speak with brand-consistent voices every time a customer calls.

Unfortunately, for every well designed IVR or speech recognition system in the marketplace, there are a dozen poor implementations that are irritating millions of callers day in and day out.

The voice self-service industry has got to do a better job identifying what issues lend themselves to automation and which ones can be better addressed with a live, thinking customer service rep.  And for goodness sakes, we’ve got to stop making it so difficult to get to a live agent on the phone.

It’s really all about taking care of customers. When voice automation works effectively, the customer is happy and keeps buying. At some point, companies that use it poorly will lose customers to the companies that see the real value in the customer experience.

Read this article (now blogged) that appeared in Newsday in New York.  It’s just the tip of the iceberg. After you read it, click on these comments to see what the average person on the street thinks of voice automation and the conspiracy to keep calls from talking to real, live, human agents.

Marcus Graham

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