Monday, February 27, 2006

The Natives Getrestless

Jeez, Paul English is getting crazy with this IVR stuff. I was tying to have a relaxing Sunday, complete with extra spicy Bloodies and the New York Times, and what do I stumble across? An article about him on page three. I remember a time when no one even knew what a call center was; now you can't even have a weekend off without reading about it.

Anyway, the piece in the Times was about English's new website He has amped up his IVR "cheat sheet" thing with a website described as "a consumer movement created to change the face of customer service. This free website is powered by over one million consumers, and the site is run by volunteers who demand high quality customer service." You can even buy gethuman bumper stickers, t-shirts, mouse pads, hats, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets, sweatshirts and teddy bears.

Anyway, what is gethuman? How do you pronounce it? Is it geth-u-man? Or is it ge-thuman? Just kidding. It's Get Human, it just looks funny when it's all jammed together.

As much as I rail against a lot of call center "stuff", like scripts, and "retention" etc., I just can't get behind this Gethuman. It seems, on one hand, to be all about his hatred for IVRs, but then he includes a place to rate your customer service experience with any company you choose to. So is it poor customer service from phone agents that he has issue with, just IVRs, or both? I can't really tell, because the sweeping phrases like "consumer movement", "change the face of customer service", and "volunteers who demand high quality customer service" all sound like he has an issue the whole shebang.

He's quoted in the Times article as saying "I am anti-arrogance. Why do the executives who run these call center think they can decide when I deserve to speak to a human being and when I don't." In the company rating section, he says "We would like to reward the companies you rate as having the best customer service, and to punish the companies with the worst customer service." Yikes! This guy has an axe to grind. 'Punish' the companies that get bad anonymous ratings? That sounds a little like the arrogance that he says he's against.

Anyway, we here at Call Center Steel Cage Death Match will be keeping our eyes on this latest development because this could get out of hand. The million-strong Gethuman-ites might start to get crazy ideas - I'm thinking some type of militia thing where they show up at your call center door with flaming torches and pitchforks and baseball bats to beat your IVR into pieces and string up the call center manager. Yeah, we'll be watching this. Just to be safe though I think I'll get a couple of those gethuman bumper stickers and teddy bears. And thank God I don't have an IVR!


Blogger AnonymousCog said...

I'm with you on this one. It's not just about the IVR. It's about much more than that.

I wrote a post about it also.


9:12 PM  
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