The customer-avoidance tool known as IVR (interactive voice response) really baffles me. Not me actually navigating through one of the v-hells (although that frequently does baffle me, also); but why anyone would ever implement it. The theory is (I guess) that you save money in the long run by not having to pay a human to answer your phones. You can replace him with a machine that forces the caller to figure what what you’ve got available and try and match that up with what they are looking for.
Put aside for the moment that it often pisses people off when they can’t talk to a real person. Leave alone that the tortuous paths that the caller is sent down rarely get them to what they want on the first try, if ever. Don’t even consider the net loss of productivity to society (sure, you save part of one receptionist’s day, but at the cost of 10 minutes of wasted time for every one of the hundreds of people who encounter your “interface.”) [Note the irony of that term when one of the “faces” is a PC hooked to a PBX in a comm closet.]
No, the real reason it’s dumb, is that you are losing the golden opportunity to talk to customers and prospects! You spend a significant portion of your expense line on marketing to people so they will do what? RESPOND. Well, that’s what they’re doing! Even someone calling with a complaint is an opportunity to turn them around or at least learn from your mistake.
The tragedy is that the call really is very important; it’s just not being treated that way.