Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Outrage Triggers

Here is a short list of IVR failures that trigger in callers a feeling of outrage -- or at least loathing and contempt!


1. You are forced to start all over after giving the IVR several pieces of information. That's right: nothing can make a person's day like having them emulate Sisyphus while trying to reach customer support. Nice!

2. You are made to listen to several minutes of declamations, instructions, warnings, and general statements before you are offered anything that you care about. That's because we all love to hear other people thump their chest about how they are the best and the brightest and the loveliest, and how maybe we should check their web site next time, and that our call is so important to them that they can't stand it, and so forth. We all love to hear that stuff, especially when we are calling because we are pissed off and need help with their crappy product.

3. You are made to wait a long time only to be routed to voice mail. This is my favorite by far. OK -- we thought about it and... we don't think you are worth speaking with. So sorry. After the tone, start speaking or whatever.... Beeeep.

4. You are made to wait a long time, finally get to an agent, but you never get your problem resolved. This is worse than #3, because you force yourself to waste 10 minutes of your existence on earth talking to someone who wouldn't know how to help you if your hair got caught on fire before you start feeling ashamed of yourself for indulging in such bottomless self-delusion.

5. You are asked by the agent to repeat information that you already provided to the IVR. This is of course the all time classic. (Once, an agent pretended that she needed me to repeat the information "just to make sure". I smiled and repeated it. At least she cared enough to make the effort...)

6. You are transferred from one IVR system to another IVR system. This always makes me smile: if people are able to launch businesses and make a healthy living with this kind of utter thoughtlessness, I too will become rich and famous one day....

7. The IVR system asks you to call at a later time and then hangs up on you. You gotta respect a machine that can detect a meat head, swiftly decides that it has no tolerance for such density, and then cuts its losses and moves on. When you get your act together, buddy, give me a call and we can talk....