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So, you thought IVRS is some Computer Telephony Integration Hardware and a piece of Software, installed and running 24 hours a day on a Personal Computer to play recorded voice as soon as a caller calls the IVRS Number?
You have completely under-estimated IVRS. But then don’t loose your heart, you belong to the majority! And it’s perfectly fine to underestimate.

But then imagine the following scenarios:-

1. You call your telephone company customer service number. You are welcome to Customer Care service. Then some music. Then it starts giving out long list of options to choose. Some options are for pressing a key and some require you to speak one word or some words. But then its not what you were looking, so you want to speak to an customer care executive. Normally its by pressing 9. So, dutifully you press 9. Another melody. Then you get to hear, “Your Call is Important to us”, please wait while we are transferring your call. Another melody! Already 2 minutes gone, Your call is important to us, again, cool, they are making your call important by making you talking to a machine! 4 minutes gone by then, and finally you get to hear, All our customer care executives are busy. Your call is important to us. Please wait while we are trying to connect you to our customer care executive. The approximate time for connection is 4 minutes. Kindly hold the line or please call later. You take the advice. You hang up and call after 10 minutes. The same procedure follows! What you do? Utter some profanities/expletives and slam the phone down?
2. You call large enterprise customer support number. Welcome prompts! Then a list of teeth breaking technical sounding department list. You somehow manage to remember the option for your department and press the right key or speak the right word and IVRS could understand! Then the next prompt comes! This particular division is closed now! Thank you for calling. And then you hear a busy tone! Did they shut the door in front of your face ? What you can do? Slam the phone. Stamp your feet on your floor?

There are many more similar situations! You scratch your head and wonder what made them call themselves Customer Care Service? Where you did not even get the care, let alone the service you were looking?


The answer is lack of knowledge of usability of IVRS by the design engineer or the company!

Make no mistake, like any other software, IVRS is also normally designed and developed by some software engineers without much input from either marketing or customer service people. And they will concentrate more on software features like call flow, database integration, TTS Integration, smart speech recognitions and many more.

What are the consequences of IVRS with poor usability? They are:-
1. Frustrated and Angry customers ( you will hear lot of expletives and profanities you record your IVRS calls and dare to listen them)
2. High call duration but no satisfactory service to the customer. Poor usage of IVRS
3. High hang ups.
4. Increased cost as it will transfer more calls to customer care executives.
5. Decline in customer satisfaction affecting brand value of the company.

But then you need not worry, I have a collection of tips to increase usability of IVRS. To be posted shortly.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Ankit August 27, 2008, 2:07 pm

    Very practical post!
    Thats the scene with top shot companies, not sure if they are short of manpower to handle the division like customer care which may require proper 1 to 1 support not only once but over a period of time or its the technology they are usingmisusing.

  • Uttam Pegu August 27, 2008, 3:09 pm

    Thanx for the feedback Ankit! Its not the IVR technology to blame actually. Its these top shot companies to blame which are not taking IVR technology seriously! Most of the companies who uses IVR for customer care, use IVRS as “also have” tool! To utilize true potential and usefulness of IVR, one needs truly IVR professional/consultant who can study and analysis the IVRS and come out with proper call flow, technology to be used, IVR prompts, and also put intelligence in it! Its not easy, but its not impossible to put intelligence in an IVRS to make it friendly to a customer!

  • Varun October 1, 2011, 7:10 pm

    I wish to work on project related to IVRS. Which software language i need to learn and what type of embedded work is done in its system ? Please give me brief detail…

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