Customer Experience News & Trends

Why customers hate IVR – and what you can do to make it better

Customers may say they hate IVR, but they’ll use it if it’s good. Here’s what they hate most and how your contact center can do better.

Many customers would bypass talking to agents, use the interactive phone features and come back to them in the future if contact centers avoided the IVR pitfalls, says customer service expert Donna Fluss.

Here’s what frustrates customers the most, prompting them to skip automation and try to get to agents as soon as possible.

  • Poor options. Outdated, limited and/or wrong options will send customers to the wrong person or lead them to pressing 0 until they get an agent (even for the easiest answers). Just like an FAQ page, options need to be updated to reflect customers most current needs.
  • Confusing options. Customers might not understand “questions about compliance with HIPAA,” but they do understand “questions about who can see your records.” Automated options need to be offered in the language customers use.
  • Too much verification. Customers won’t punch in their social security number, email address, pin and phone number to find out account balance. Make it easier to get at basic information. If they must verify more than one thing, it’s probably better they talk to an agent.
  • The need for too much data. If an account number isn’t necessary for getting the mailing address, don’t make customers plug it in at the beginning of an IVR situation. Keep the simple stuff easily accessible – as in one option away without having to enter other information.
  • Poor speech recognition. Don’t bother with speech recognition software if customers end up talking to agents anyway. Technical issues will never be resolved with IVR.
  • Making it difficult for customers to reach agents. Getting to an agent should always be an early, easy option.

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