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What to do — if your IVR behaves badly?
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

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As many parents will know, it's a painful experience when the headteacher calls to explain that your child has misbehaved. The story unfolds and you react with surprise, then horror, then embarrassment.

IVR spit dummy 900

Discovering some 'home truths' about your interactive voice response system (IVR) can be just as uncomfortable.

Picture it: You get your IVR looking clean and tidy and then send it out to play. Things go well for a while. But then there's a furious knock on the door — and a queue of agitated people, ready to let rip.

Every so often, some organisation or other publishes a survey of the most annoying things about contact centres and their IVRs.

Here's a typical top three, drawn from several of them:

  • Callers get lost in 'no man's land' because of badly-designed menu options
  • Long holding times frustrate customers and they give up
  • The IVR tells callers to visit the website instead (to make it easier for the company)

You could get away with all this in the heyday of IVRs, before smartphones and ecommerce websites took off in a big way. Back then, most IVRs were tailored to middle-class, middle-income, middle-aged and middle-managers. Everyone else just had to put up with the plummy tones and plodding style of the disembodied telephone voice.

Customer demographics have changed, and are still changing

Since then, that middle-aged generation have become silver surfers, internet savvy and mobile-enabled, while their Generation X or Y grandchildren now drive the ecommerce boom with far more disposable income and far less patience.

Instead of waiting patiently in line, they'll break off — and sound off on social media. And if the experience is bad enough (or funny enough), it'll go viral and be picked up by mainstream media. If other callers feel the same way, then customer loyalty and your Net Promoter Scores (NPS) may take a hit. It'll impact your bottom line too.

Take a deeper look at our eGuide - Is your IVR behaving badly? 

If you'd like to know more about self-service then give us a call on 08000 630 730 or drop us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the Author

Mark Holmes

Mark Holmes

Head of Sales

Mark has over 20 years’ experience in business, commercial and technical roles across many sectors including retail, public sector, telecommunications and outsourcing. His knowledge means that he can quickly get to the crux of any client challenge and address it via a consultative approach. Mark head up Eckoh’s sales team, proactively and reactively addressing viable commercial opportunities and ensuring that the customer is offered, and receives, the very best solution for them.  

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