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Behavioral Inertia, How It Can Work For Your Call Center

Behavior Intertia

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Author: Spencer Peterson

What is Behavioral Inertia?

Commonly referred to as the “low cost of doing nothing,” behavioral inertia is the tendency to repeatedly do the same actions or behaviors because it requires the least amount of energy and thought. Humans tend to develop habits that lower the amount of brain energy and mental attentiveness needed to perform tasks. 

This tendency can be seen in our day-to-day lives when there is a new way to do something more beneficial, but we continue doing what we always have because it takes less effort. Why not go to the store three blocks away with lower prices when you can go to the same store one block away that you always have with higher prices? It takes more effort.

These habitual and repetitive behaviors make-up behavioral inertia. Much like Newton’s laws of motion, humans will continue to show the same behaviors until something outside of their control intervenes with their ability to do so. Call center agents and their customers are no exception.

How It Can Work For You

With the emergence of ever more AI technologies and automated systems, the question continues to surface: Can it replace humans? For now, the answer is still no. At least not entirely. 

In many circumstances, There are times when a customer’s problem is too difficult or complex for an automated system to assess appropriately. Automatic call distribution services increase efficiency by accurately and quickly directing calls to qualified agents— insteps behavioral inertia. 

When agents receive and direct calls, they inevitably use their personal biases, social references, and status quo to judge how to handle or direct a call. While this usually hinders the system with more complex problems that automated systems cannot handle, this human discretion is an asset. 

These different biases are the inertial behaviors that drive them to categorize and evaluate the same way every time. Call centers can use this predictable behavior to help redirect and escalate problematic calls more quickly and efficiently.

Call centers should also train agents to be experts when dealing with difficult calls. When all agents are trained to be experts in different aspects of a product or service and can speak knowledgeably on their given topic, they can use their discretion to escalate calls according to individual skills and their bias towards coworkers to better serve customers.

By partnering the robotic accuracy and efficiency of automatic systems with agents’ discretion and expertise, call centers can use behavioral inertia to find the perfect balance of time, resources, and personal customization for their customer’s experience.

Take advantage of TCN’s tools to help improve your call center’s automation, train your agents to exceed customer expectations, and make behavioral inertia work for you!

About the Author: Spencer Peterson


Spencer Peterson is a Content Writer for TCN, a worldwide leading provider of cloud-based call center technology. He focuses on developing dynamic messaging for blogs and social media. In his spare time, Spencer loves to cook and enjoys quiet time at home with his family and the occasional dance party.