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Why I Hate Your IVR

This post originally appeared on Call Center Weekly .

I recently called my bank, who shall remain anonymous, in order to speak with someone regarding a deposit. As I was pressed for time, my intention was to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible. Once connected to their IVR, I quickly realized this issue was not going to be resolved anytime soon.

After being forced to listen to the main menu, which was too long, I was finally placed in the appropriate sub-menu for my issue. This is where my frustration took over. At no point was I given a menu option specific to my problem. Even worse, there was no prompt given to speak with an agent. Therefore, my only course of action was to go back to the main menu in the hopes of connecting with an agent.

The main menu had nine options, none of which were for connecting to someone in the call center. At this point, I began to say “representative”, “agent”, and “customer support”, along with some other choice words I shall not dare repeat here. As the IVR did not recognize the commands, I was promptly notified there was “difficulty understanding” what I wanted. Perfect, I thought. This would certainly route me to a customer service agent.

Imagine my frustration when I was told to call customer service just before the call was disconnected. Rather than endure another battle with the “Phone System from Hades”, I went to a local branch to handle my affairs. As the teller--who was extremely helpful--thanked me for coming in, she offered some advice. “Mr. Hawkins, to save time in the future, you can call our toll free number rather than coming in to the bank. It’s much quicker.”

I began to explain to her the pains I endured via the phone only to be surprised by her response to my unpleasant ordeal.

“Oh yes, sometimes our phone system can be a bit complicated,” she said.

That got me wondering how many times in the past this teller had already had this same conversation with other customers. As I knew she was unable to resolve this matter, I quickly jotted down the following note on a deposit slip and handed it to the manager.

I hate your IVR because:

  1. That “voice” annoys me!
  2. I want to speak to a person!
  3. Too many menu options!
  4. It’s so slow!
  5. It doesn’t recognize my voice commands!
  6. It hung up on me!