Can you always believe the IVR message?

Can you always believe the IVR message?

Frequently, people ask me which companies have the best service.  I generally mention American Express as an example. They seem to hire the right people, train them appropriately and do not sound scripted. Although I check my online account a few different times during the month, I periodically call the toll free number with a question.

The last two times I called American Express, which happened to be within a ten-day time span, the message on the IVR was, “We are experiencing a high volume of calls and customers should call back at another time.” I really needed the information, so I pressed the appropriate option to connect to a live representative. In both instances, a person immediately answered and was able to resolve my issue.  It seemed like too much of a coincidence that in both cases my call went to an agent almost instantly. Although I was happy, I was suspicious that the IVR messaging was really suggesting that I try to find my answer by a channel other than live operator.

I was also thinking, if a customer contacts a company, the recording should never say call back at another time. There should be technology in place to request the customer’s telephone number so that a representative can re-contact the customer.

The two people I spoke to were professional, pleasant, and welcoming, but it left me with a bad taste. I know that many companies are “pushing” self-service options. I like self-service too, but not when I already know I need to speak to a person.

Have you experienced similar situations with other companies?

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. I’m with you, Richard. While I understand companies are working hard to provide information through self-service, there is a gracious way to “push” and it’s not using an IVR to say ‘call us back when WE are less busy’.’ Surprising from American Express, whom I agree delivers consistently outstanding live service. I have experienced this tactic with CIGNA Healthcare and find it equally distasteful. Even my utility company utilizes the call-me-back technology.