gethuman


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gethuman

A standard for interactive voice response (IVR) systems created by Paul English in the summer of 2006. Designed to provide common functions for phone trees, the website (www.gethuman.com) also includes a database of phone numbers for obtaining a live person for customer and technical support at major companies.

Some of the gethuman functions are being able to dial zero for a human, bypass long prompts, to interrupt and go back to a menu while waiting and to receive updated estimated wait times at reasonable intervals.

An Ear Icon - The Gethuman "Earcon"
When users hear the gethuman "earcon" at the beginning of an IVR session, they know the phone tree is compliant with the gethuman standard. See IVR and phone tree.
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JetBlue Airways is one enterprise that meets GetHuman's standards; the airline is recognized by the organization as a member of its Great Customer Service Club.
(See "Gethuman? Get Real," Customer Centricity, March 2007.) In the coming months, you should expect a return to prominence for Gethuman, or some new organization created to help focus consumer wrath born of poor service.
Speech Technology: In the September/October 2006 issue of Speech Technology magazine, you wrote a piece entitled "Is Paul English Right?" In that article, you argued that English, a well-known critic of automated IVR systems and founder of the GetHuman movement, was not right in most cases.
Web sites such as GetHuman (www.gethuman.com) have been created just to allow consumers to sound off on the experiences they've had as well as ways to "get around" an IVR system.
If you follow the gethuman.com standard and allow people to jump out of an IVR into the agent queue, you need to figure out how many people are jumping out and at what point they are jumping out.
Partially based on the organization built up around the IVR Cheat Sheet, a new project, called gethuman and with a Web site at www.gethuman.com, was born.
Many of gethuman's tactics are admirable and actually help consumers obtain the best level of service from the companies they deal with daily--the updated and expanded database of IVR tips now includes a grade of interaction quality, as well as the methods for reaching a live support agent for at least 500 companies.
But gethuman has also begun an ambitious project to actually transform the mechanisms that companies use to provide service.
The above guidelines are neither complete nor final, but are still being developed by the gethuman.com team.
Following the example set by Consumer Reports magazine, the get-human team plans to conduct surveys and test automated and semi-automated systems to see how well they follow gethuman.com guidelines.
If your company supports an automated telephone system, investigate what can be done now to improve its user interface and avoid low scores on the gethuman.com Web site.
Now that there are sites like gethuman.com, and research that proves bad customer service drives business to the competition, you'll either be flushed from hiding, or left to rot.