Is your IVR hurting your customer service?


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After a very frustrating call trying to navigate my way through a certain furniture company’s IVR system, I couldn’t help but think, “Who the heck is this IVR system designed for?” The choices didn’t seem to match up with any common problems that might prompt someone to call (assembly instructions, lost shipment, damaged products/returns, etc.) and when you pressed zero to get to an agent, you were met with a ‘good-bye’ and then disconnected. Far too often our clients design overly complicated IVR systems that aren’t intuitive for the customer and end up causing frustration versus helping route callers correctly. When it comes to the IVR, keeping it simple is the best strategy. Oh, and then put on your customer hat, give yourself a specific problem to solve and then try to use the IVR. If you can’t be impartial about it, ask your spouse or a friend to try it out. Do your agents a favor and try to eliminate this built in frustration that gives them unhappy callers to handle right from the start.

“I tried to call you about a transaction that was incorrectly posted to my account. After spending 15 minutes speaking my selections to your phone system, my call was incorrectly transferred and then dropped. What a waste of time!”

“Your phone system is so confusing to navigate through. The selections are read off so quickly, by the time I understood what my choices were I was disconnected before I could make my selections.”

“I was practically screaming my responses into your IVR system and each time your system kept saying, “I do not understand your request.” I’m not sure how much clearer ‘yes’ and ‘no’ can be. I was so frustrated.”

“At the third level of choices I had to go through, I spelled out the county that I was calling from and was finally transferred to someone. I went through the whole story and was then told that I needed to be transferred to my county. Really?! If you make us spell it out, then why don’t we go to the right place?”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


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