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The Horrors of IVR: Five Key Issues

This article was published on May 13, 2020

by Tim Kimber, Global Director, Product Marketing

Vonage surveyed¹ 2,009 UK and 2,010 US adults aged between 16 and 55 on their experiences with IVR. More than half of those interviewed believed that IVR makes for a poor customer experience, suggesting that most consumers do not enjoy interacting with automated systems. Through the survey, we discovered five of the most common issues that consumers face with IVR.

In this article, we will explore these problems and offer an alternative. Vonage’s Dynamic Routing (DR) is a powerful solution that can be easily implemented into your contact center platform. Read on to discover how it can transform how your customers interact with your business.

‘I’m forced to listen to irrelevant options’

This was reported by 63% of US-based participants in Vonage’s 2019 IVR survey and highlights one of the core issues with IVR: it is not typically tailored to customers’ individual needs. IVR systems are structured so that customers have to listen to a number of options that are not relevant to them in order to reach the one that matches their query.

Vonage’s DR solution manages to avoid this issue by automating the routing process. It tracks each of your agents’ areas of expertise and customers’ call histories in order to match them up efficiently. This makes the process much more seamless for customers and removes the need for them to listen to options that are not relevant to them.

‘The reason I’m calling for might not be specifically listed’

65% of participants in our US survey reported this problem. By design, IVR systems feature either too many options or not enough. Everyone who enters the IVR maze is only looking for a single option and if they do not find it, they are likely to become agitated.

DR more effectively serves customers. If a customer has a specific query, it can be difficult to know which option to choose through an IVR system. By considering a caller’s history, DR can automatically direct them to the person who is most likely to be able to handle their query. This helps remove one of the most frustrating steps in the CX journey for most consumers.

‘The menus are usually too long’

This problem was reported by 46% of participants in Vonage’s US survey, and 37% of UK respondents. IVR systems force customers to do the legwork, listening through options and deciding which one best meets their needs. By placing the responsibility on customers, it is not hard to see why many people associate IVR systems with poor CX.

Vonage’s DR solution streamlines the experience for customers considerably. As routing is not carried out by customers or agents, but instead automatically, it allows both to have a more seamless experience.

‘It wastes my time’

For 35% of UK respondents surveyed, this was a key issue. IVR is frequently a time-consuming experience. Customers may see this as a business not valuing their time, which can lead them to competitors. You should always aim to provide customers with as seamless a customer experience as possible.

DR ensures customers spend only as much time as necessary communicating with your contact center. By removing the middleman, IVR, it allows the customer to reach an agent as soon as possible, reducing the number of steps they need to take.

‘It keeps me from getting through to a live person’

54% of US survey participants reported this frustration. Despite technology like AI playing a more important role than ever in customer service, such as chatbots, customers still value speaking to humans. Customer agents will be an integral part of CX for many years to come. If you are preventing customers from reaching an employee, hampering them with an unhelpful IVR experience, then it is likely to lead to dissatisfaction.

When implementing technology into your contact center, it should always be to deliver a more seamless experience. This is why DR succeeds where IVR falters; it is focused primarily on providing customers with a better experience.

Final thoughts

If you want to retain your customers, then it is essential to implement a solution that prioritises good CX above everything else.

To find out more about how to take your CX to the next level, read our free guide on the topic, ‘How to End IVR Horrors’. It also outlines the key benefits of our Dynamic Routing technology, an effective and innovative alternative to IVR.

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