January 14, 2009
How to annoy your customers
Why are phone tree's/IVRs so annoying? I spend a lot of time analyzing and implementing phone systems for customers. But a end user perspective can often refresh your thinking. A co-worker raised a great series of points as he was having a frustrating experience calling in for customer support at Fedex, and how the web has reduced the reasons why you wold be looking for self help in an IVR.
1. He has almost never encountered an IVR that he liked and didn't frustrate him
2. The more menu's and complexity, the worse the customer experience
3. Many companies mis the basic premise of a phone call: you make a phone call to talk to somebody.
4. If you want self help, you tend to go to the web. And the type of person who wants to step through a complicated list of options is the type that would have headed to the web in the first place.
5. Like most people (myself included), he starts hitting 0 or * as soon as possible to talk to somebody, regardless of what the IVR menu is saying.
6. The further down the tree where the option to speak to somebody is, the more annoying it is
7. He has a theory that the reason these systems are so annoying is that they are designed by committees of people who sit around trying to add features because it is technically possible, under the assumption that the more options for the customer the more they will like it. But in reality customers often want the least amount of options.
All great points I thought.