Press One for Frustration; Press Two for…

Press_one_for_frustrationIt’s a common dilemma we all have experienced. You call a company and press or say your account number into the front-end IVR (usually after navigating through a few lists of options). When you eventually reach the Customer Service Representative (CSR) he or she then immediately asks you for your account number. After pulling up your records and determining that you really need to speak to another person, you are transferred to another CSR who asks you for your account number.

Clearly, the technology exists to transfer this information from IVR to desktop or from one CSR to another CSR, but there is often a breakdown in technology or in communication. What may seem like a back-burner technology issue for you is a front-burner irritation for your customers.

  • I know many companies who have IVR systems that can do all sorts of cool things, but the company has not invested the time and resourced to utilize what they already have. Maybe it’s time to call IT or your telephony team and move call/data routing up on the priority list.
  • Other companies have no clue what a call routing system or IVR can do for them and their customers. Perhaps it’s time to do a little investigation. Technology is getting better, more accessible, and more cost effective with each passing day.
  • Perhaps you’d be better off without any front-end IVR at all. One company I know recently dumped the IVR and went straight to having live agents answer the call, do a quick triage and route to the appropriate agent. Not only were customers more satisfied at getting a live agent, but the long distance charges saved from having customers stuck in the IVR trying to figure out what to do more than made up for the expense of having live people answering/routing call.
  • At the very least, do your customers a favor and make sure to transfer account and data information along with the call. This can be as simple as having the transferring CSR stay on the line to do a soft transfer (i.e. "I have John Smith on the line. His account number is 123-45-6789. I’ve already verified him. He’s got a widget issue. Thanks.").

The transfer of customers and data may seem like a small matter, but it’s a front-end matter for those who are calling you!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and shazar

  1 comment for “Press One for Frustration; Press Two for…

  1. July 18, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I had not picked up on this story before – I guess that I need to get an RSS feed sorted out.
    Funnily enough this week on Call Centre Helper ran an opinion piece called “Is it time to throw out the IVR?”.
    It seemed to touch upon a bit of a raw nerve and has had quite a lot of feedback.
    http://www.callcentrehelper.com/your-opinion-time-to-throw-out-the-ivr-1882.htm
    A lot of the feedback suggests that customers seem really delighted to get straight through to a real person.
    I have been expecting the IVR manufacturers to start wading in with some stats about how great IVRs really are but that does not seem to have happened yet.

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