16 Mar 2007 johnnyb   » (Journeyer)

Hideous annoyances with IVR (voice and touch-tone interactive) systems:

  • If an IVR doesn't have a specific option to speak to a human, the IVR should be deactivated permanently, because the owners are too stupid to use one.
  • Unless there is a REALLY good reason, IVRs should make it _easy_ to do everything with the dial pad. Are you really doing secure banking over the phone if you have to speak your password or even your account number or your SSN? It is just easier for the entire interaction if you just push numbers.
  • Don't sound like you are being conversational. IVR systems ARE NOT conversational, so pretending to be so is just stupid and annoying. "Let me see" is a colloquialism of a human speaking. If you are not a human, you shouldn't be speaking this way. I hate using the phone anyway, and if you make me listen to idiocy while I'm on the phone I'm going to hate your company for all eternity.

If I'm going to bother to interact with an IVR, then I want it to be:

  • Serious. I'm making a serious call. If I wanted to talk to someone about a non-serious subject, I'd call my 4-year-old.
  • VERY CLEAR. Most IVR calls I make are about money or service. I want the communication to be clear and exact. If an IVR says "Ummm, okay", it is being personable. If they want the pretext of being personable, then GIVE ME A FREAKIN PERSON! Likewise for dialing versus speaking. Dialing is unambiguous. If I dial the wrong thing, it's my fault. But speaking is a different story. Speaking can be very ambiguous. So while I am not a big fan of any IVR, I _prefer_ those that can be dialed to those that you have to speak to. Both sides of the communication must be clear and exact. Don't BS around.
  • Optional. Computers are stupid, and computer systems are quirky. I don't know all of the quirks of your system, but I can bet that an operator does. So if there is some question, it should ALWAYS be an option to go to a real human being.

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