Answering Calls Is Enough–Isn’t It?


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Today I contacted my gas company, who incidentally has won prizes for their customer service. They charged me for listening over and over to IVR messages. After 20 minutes I finally got through to an agent only to be told that their system was down and could someone call me back – maybe tonight or perhaps tomorrow. I asked why they didn’t put that message on the IVR platform as it would have saved me a lot of time. She said “it’s only my system and a few others”. “So why are you online then?” I asked. “Because I’m here in the contact center and therefore have to be taking calls otherwise I won’t get paid.” Oh, that’s all right then; never mind the customers.”


  1. You’re so right, David. There are so many things companies could be doing with IVR messages that don’t waste people’s time. I’m tired of banks who ask you to key in account numbers, only to have that be the first question the rep asks when you finally get a live person.

    I’m tired of the pharmacy phone tree sending auto refills off on a branch but then continuing to bombard the rest of us about how we can do auto refills.

    But my absolute favorite is when my ISP’s IVR message refers me to the company’s web site for system status. The main reason I call my ISP is when I have connection problems. So exactly how am I supposed to access the company’s web site?

    Gwynne Young, Managing Editor,


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