Crusading Against Poorly Implemented IVRs

Let’s be honest; phoning a call centre isn’t most people’s favourite pastime. Company after company, we can find ourselves foraging thorough a maze of seemingly endless menu options… and then you’re kept on hold. It’s what we at NewVoiceMedia set out to change.

And last week it was revealed that we’re not the only one. Nigel Clarke, a self-confessed call centre menu enthusiast, is attempting to do so, but in an entirely different way. The former IT manager has produced a map of Britain’s phone menus and released his project on a site called ‘Please Press 1’. Nigel’s research involved more than 12,000 calls, navigating up to seven menu levels and 80 options. He claims that if everyone used his free service to bypass the systems, we could collectively save a billion minutes of call time!

Clarke’s feat was described by one site regular as ‘the biggest breakthrough this side of the Enigma machine’, which should please him, as he’s dedicated the best part of the last seven years to the cause. And last week his project was featured everywhere from the BBC to Loose Women, with appreciative readers and viewers calling for him to be knighted or elected Prime Minister.

After fitting in his crusade around full-time employment, Nigel finally quit his job last year to dedicate himself entirely to the cause.

The story certainly serves as a reminder of the frustration felt by those tackling the lengthy Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus offered by some companies. Research we commissioned recently revealed that 40% of us are irritated by not being able to speak to a real person straight away, and half of us are so put off calling a business in the first place that we’ll switch to a competitor without even attempting to resolve a problem.

Clarke actually said he was inspired to build the website after being surprised by the ‘emotional response’ he got from people whenever he mentioned it.

Our vision is to transform the call centre experience for everyone involved; the customer making the call, the agent taking the call and the business itself.

We believe that IVR technology gets a bad press, as really it’s poorly implemented IVRs that people hate. Use it wisely and it can enhance the customer experience, whilst driving cost out of the contact centre.

By combining IVR technology with cloud deployment, you can change your menus to reflect the ever-changing behaviour of your customers – intelligently routing the call to the appropriate agent and delivering personalised messages up-front to save customers waiting to speak to an agent. After all, why would you want to wait to speak to an agent just to find out your bank balance, where your nearest store is or pay a bill?

UK companies deemed to have poor customer service are losing approximately £12 billion a year, as customers switch to a competitor, so it’s definitely time to take notice.

Nicola Brookes
Nicola Brookes

Nicola is RVP Corporate Communications at NewVoiceMedia. She will mostly blog about customer service, industry news, events and company updates. Follow Nicola on Twitter at

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