Wednesday, June 27, 2007

IVR = Irritating Voice Response

Do you know what I hate more than IVRs?

NOTHING! (Well, maybe something, Hitler for example - but I'm ranting for effect here people, gimme a break)

There are so many things wrong with them it is hard to pick where to start.

  1. Zero or "O" hardly ever means what the caller believes it should mean - I WANT TO TALK TO A PERSON. If I wasn't a libertarian, I would say that this should be the law of the land. At the very least it should be a cross-industry customer service best practice. Why doesn't it always take you to a person? The answer is obvious...

  2. This is all a symptom of the larger issue here. No matter what that disgusting platitude laden recording says - YOUR CALL DOES NOT MATTER TO THEM. It is so clear to anyone with an actual brain. The only thing that matters to the dehumanizing trolls who implement these systems is making money off you or exerting power over you. Here's a tip to that one company who actually does care about customer's calls - HIRE ENOUGH OPERATORS TO KEEP HOLD TIMES UNDER TWO MINUTES.

  3. Voice recognition systems with no synonym recognition are moronic on their face. Most of these systems require that the customer know and speak in the lexicon of the company you are calling. Why should I have to say "representative" instead of "person" or better yet "help" or god forbid - PRESS THE DAMN "0" KEY WHICH AMERICANS HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED THEIR ENTIRE LIVES TO DO WHEN THEY WANT TO "Talk to the operator". For the big brains out there it's called an ontology. The technology is out there to maintain taxonomies with what are called "synonym rings". At least pretend like you care and try to make this hideously painful experience just a tad more tolerable.

  4. No standards for anything - Wouldn't it be nice if there were some basic cross industry conventions (see #1) like pressing the # key repeats all the options, pressing the * key backs you out one level.

  5. Force feeding the same pedantic instructions to me every time I call is just a wee bit irritating. Hello! I'm trying to leave a voice mail for someone. Neither I, nor any other human being with an IQ larger than a mass of kelp needs to hear the stinking recording tell me when to talk. I know... pressing "1" will skip the recording and take you right to the beep. But once again the dim-witted designers have doomed us to a standardless world where this only works some of the time. The other times pressing 1 will result in "We're sorry. That is not a recognized option." How much effort does it take to identify convention and implement it. But I expect too much, after call and my time don't matter to them (see #2).

So make a wild guess about my opinion. Do I... 1) like IVR's? 2) think IVR's are garbage to me but somebody somewhere might like them? or 3) think IVR's are complete and utter crap and nobody with a shred of intellect likes them.


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