Get 2 Human Standard

The Get2Human standard is a specification for how customer service phone systems and support should work.

The Get2Human standard will improve the phone systems of any organization that complies, making the customer service experience for consumers easier, more effective and more efficient.

The Get2Human standard was used to grade each of the companies in the Get2Human database.

Get2Human standard 1.0

The Get2Human standards have been designed with simplicity and directness as to eliminate ambiguity and enable testing and certification. There may be more than one way to accomplish each, but the result must be as follows:

1. Zero for Operator: The caller must always be able to dial 0 or to say “operator” to queue for a human.

2. Wait time estimates: An accurate estimated wait-time, based on call traffic statistics at the time of the call, should always be given when the caller arrives in the queue. A revised update should be provided periodically during hold time.

3. Repeating requests: Callers should never be asked to repeat any information (name, full account number, description of issue, etc.) provided to a human or an automated system during a call.

4. Call backs: When a human is not available, callers should be offered the option to be called back. If 24 hour service is not available, the caller should be able to leave a message, including a request for a call back the following business day. Gold Standard: Call back the caller at a time that they have specified.

5. Touch tone fall back: Speech applications should provide touch-tone (DTMF) fall-back.

6. Length of prompts: Callers should not be forced to listen to long/verbose prompts.

7. Caller override: Callers should be able to interrupt prompts (via dial-through for DTMF applications and/or via barge-in for speech applications) whenever doing so will enable the user to complete his task more efficiently.

8. Caller errors: Do not disconnect for user errors, including when there are no perceived key presses (as the caller might be on a rotary phone); instead queue for a human operator and/or offer the choice for call-back.

9. Language: Default language should be based on consumer demographics for each organization. Primary language should be assumed with the option for the caller to change language. (i.e. English should generally be assumed for the US, with a specified key for Spanish.) Gold Standard: Remember the caller’s language preference for future calls. Gold Standard: Organizations should ideally support separate toll-free numbers for each individual language.

10. Clear Communication: All operators/representatives of the organization should be able to communicate clearly with the caller (i.e. accents should not hinder communication; representatives should have excellent diction and enunciation.)


Based on anecdotal information submitted via thousands of emails, and input from consumers on the Get2Human discussion board, as well the extensive experience of the Get2Human team, a core set of standards was defined. After over a month of additional review and feedback from our users (including results from a ranking survey), the standards were revised and finalized as stated below.

For information on how to improve your customer service phone systems, click here.

Core Principles

Throughout the development process for the Get2Human Standard, several core principles continually surfaced. It is essential that compliant organizations embrace these principles and build on them to best achieve the Standards.

Core principles include:

1. Humans first – In cases where a human is available, a human should quickly answer the call and determine the caller’s need. If appropriate, the human can offer a self-service option to accomplish tasks and thereby merely act as a natural language interface to the system’s Main Menu. Callers who prefer to use automation will elect to do so. Those requiring or otherwise preferring human assistance will have it.

2. Make it easy – The system should be so easy, convenient and efficient to use that people will willingly choose to use it. Such systems should permit the user to accomplish tasks faster than by interaction with a human.

3. Efficient prompts – No prompt content should be included unless it improves efficiency of task completion for the user. “Legalese” should not be included unless it is absolutely required by law. Cliché phrases, which have become meaningless to consumers due to overuse and lack of trust of phone systems, should be avoided. Examples include: “Your call is important to us.” “Please listen carefully, as our menu options have changed.” “You can access our website to answer most questions.”

4. Systems are not humans – Automated systems that try to sound human can be patronizing to consumers. When a consumer calls with a serious issue, they do not want to be greeted by overly friendly and cheery personas. Avoid using personas such as these that will annoy callers.

5. Listen to your customers – Regularly survey users on call quality. Respond to frequently heard complaints in a public, visible forum, indicating what you are changing to address the frustration. Organizations should use this data to trend improvement over time, to bonus call center executives, to impact support representatives’ compensation and training, and to benchmark against the industry.

6. Logical flow – Self-service applications should have logical flow. For example, it is unacceptable to obtain a caller’s account number, and then ask if he/she would like to open an account.

Get2Human standards testing

Where practical, we will test for compliance with the Get2Human standard regularly, and results will be published on For each standard, organizations will receive a 0 (not compliant) or a 1 (compliant). Overall ratings will reflect an average of standard scores. For some detail scores as well as an analysis of the problems and recommendations for fixing them, go to Repairs for Wrecks.

Certification Process
In order to be certified as Get2Human-compliant, organizations must adhere to the Get2Human standard. For additional information please contact us.

Contact Us

If you have questions regarding or the Get2Human standard, please contact us.