The consequence of using poor automated phone systems can be as bad as losing customers, an Interactions Corporation-sponsored survey revealed. Conducted by New York University Assistant Professor of Communications Liel Leibovitz, the research project surveyed 2,000 respondents nationwide. The results will be presented by Interactions Corporation Marketing and Business Development Executive Vice President, Phil Gray and Prof. Leibovitz at SpeechTEK (News - Alert) 2012, the annual speech technology business exhibition taking place Aug. 13-15 in New York City.
According to the survey, eight in 10 consumers (83 percent) say they will avoid a company or stop giving it business after a poor experience with an automated phone system — a.k.a. "interactive voice response," or "IVR."
“Consumers have become unbelievably frustrated with automated phone systems. Corporations have long believed that consumers will put up with difficult automated phone systems, but that's no longer true. Consumers are abandoning companies that put them into 'voicejail,” Interactions Corporation CEO Mike Iacobucci said in a statement.
But shunning a company for poor automated phone systems is not all; today’s consumers can go to the extent of sharing their negative IVR experience with friends and family, which can prove very difficult for a company.
According to Interactions' survey, more than 70 percent of consumers will share their negative IVR experience not just with the company itself, but also with friends and family – and essentially anyone willing to listen – through word of mouth, social media and blogs.
The survey also revealed that of all available customer service methods, the most sought-after is the direct interaction with customer service representatives. In the absence of that method, customers will go for website-based customer support and live chat with a customer service representative. Only 16 percent selected IVR as their preferred option, clearly indicating the level of frustration among customers with poor IVR practices and systems.
"People have had such poor IVR experiences, they prefer not to use them to resolve their problems. They resort to IVRs either when they can't find what they need online or when they want to speak with a live agent. So, consumers aren't driven back to the website because of a bad automated phone experience — they start at the website,” Iacobucci added.
At the same time, the survey showed that the often difficult to use IVR channel is still the main way for consumers to reach their preferred option of a live agent, displaying just how reliant consumers still are on the technology.
“It's not a contact center problem. It's a customer experience problem. Customer touchpoints go from the most basic to the most intensive, from Google (News - Alert) searches to live calls. If each customer interaction is not consistently satisfying then each negative customer experience will translate into a decline of brand affinity,” Iacobucci pointed out.
If you’re looking to have your cake and eat it too, explore the options Plum Voice offers customers across the world. Not only are they seasoned players in the IVR arena, but they also boast a high-performance, versatile and scalable set of IVR servers, solutions and hosting to build the perfect voice application for you.
Additionally, Plum touts a highly skilled and focused staff of in-house and support engineers who work to help you troubleshoot and resolve your IVR system issues 24/7/365. This means you’ll never be transferred to a distant call-center full of reps reading from scripts. You start getting the support you need from the moment the call is answered.
Stay in touch with everything IVR by following Plum Voice on Twitter (News - Alert) @PlumVoice
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo