IVR, (that’s the automated routing of phone calls) is an unpleasant reality of multi-channel service. Let’s assume that you are committed to using it, how much time have you spent in creating the messaging. Two examples of trying to put a more human touch to something that is inherently not human and machine driven.
Firstly the Halifax. Listen carefully to what happens after you key in an option. You here a key click. You are then prompted to enter your account number. “thanks” the voice says, “I’ll just enter that”. And you hear a clackerty clack of data being entered into a keyboard. BUT YOU ARE A MACHINE!!! It is a nice touch, but it is trying to make an interaction that is clearly not human more personable.
Second example is the Financial Obudsman. “Thank you for calling” says the voice. Not a stock, model voice, but a real voice, “I hope we’ll be able to help you. My name is Walter Merricks and I am the Chief Ombudsman…” The message is clearly a recording. There is no attempt to be anything but a recording, but giving the voice a name and explaining the nature of IVR is a real human touch. Even better, the narrative about recording the call- it is not scripted from the IVR manual. It talks to the customer in language they understand.
If you must be mechanical in your communications with customers, be human, be transparent, but don’t try and pretend to be what you are not.