Interative Voice Response (IVR) system is one of the service automation that customers would love to hate, but truth is, it could be a love-hate relationship. There’s still questionable gap between aspiring to improve customer experience and achieving to improve customer experience.
Are companies using IVR system the right way for automation?
Here are three situations I have encountered – 2 new credit cards and 1 credit card waiver , all 3 banks have given me the self-service option via IVR.
Bank #1, Credit Card Waiver
The IVR asked me for my credit card number which I obediently followed , hoping that they will tell me that the waiver is in process and I will get an update if it is approved via sms. But , it didn’t. The voice tell me that I have to enter my credit card number for the waiver I am applying for. Now.. didn’t I just entered that earlier and confirmed it so I can get to press to the waiver option?
Verdict: Business today may not even be smart to use back the data that was given to serve back customers’ needs. As an existing customer, that sudden surprise to repeat what I did earlier is totally uncalled for.
Bank #2, Credit Card Activation
Right after entering the credit card number, the IVR asked me for my customer password to verify myself. Now, I am a NEW cardholder, the letter/sticker that was given did not indicate that a customer password is needed. Surprised and frustrated, I asked myself, “so where do I get that customer password?”
So I called the IVR again and this time round, I opted for the option to reset my customer password and finally get to the stage of pressing 1 to activate the card.
Verdict: In today’s relationship-focused world, asking customers to do the heavy lifting is becoming an ever-riskier proposition. As a new customer, I am wondering now if I should use their card if this is the kind of “self-service” I get. While low effort sounds simple, it’s actually very hard to do it well, because it requires organisation to understand their customers’ expectations as well as how business processes affect customers.
Bank #3- Credit Card Activation
All was good and smooth until they ask if I wanted to activate the card for overseas usage. I pressed 1 for yes and they asked for a ddmmyy on when I wanted the overseas usage to expire. I panic for a moment and wondered if I did not press a date, does it mean I have to start the card activation process all over again? And why do I need to do so? Thankfully the system then prompted if I will leave it as that.
Verdict: As an existing customer for another card, I was caught off guard on a decision that requires some thinking before I can provide a deadline or if I do want to provide a deadline to it. The surprise and pressure of keying it as soon as possible so that I still get the card activated and do not have to start all over again is high and very much uncalled for.
My advise to companies: The fault lies not with the technology, but with the implementation of the technology. Listen to your IVR and try it- just because nobody complains does not mean it works.
Now we need to ask ourselves: if IVR is an self-serve option for resolution to enquiry, have your recent encounter with an IVR makes you happier or angrier?
Posted by Rosaline Oh, Senior Consultant