IVR Blunders That Make You Want To Scream Part II

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My last entry was about IVR blunders that made me want to scream. Well, since that blog, I’ve been screaming my head off. So I thought I would continue on with a Part Two of that blog to share my most recent frustrations with companies that use ridiculous IVR practices.

Have you ever called a customer service line that offers speech recognition as their only way to navigate through the menu?  Well this is a dreadful approach if the speech recognition software utilized is not as robust as it should be. I have a 3 year old son that makes it his job to make as much noise as possible when I’m on the phone, even more so when I am on the phone trying to receive some good, old-fashioned customer service.  When my son is home there is always background noise, which you would think that an IVR solution with speech recognition as an only option could handle. Well that’s not the case at all with most companies that have opted to deploy speech recognition as their only IVR option for call routing, void of touch tone entries or DTMF menu selections.

While I was trying to navigate through the IVR menu, the speech recognition software was picking up on the background noise in my home, which in this particular case was Sesame Street’s beloved character Elmo counting to 5.  The IVR speech recognition did not understand my selection (or maybe Elmo’s), so suddenly the lovely automated IVR attendant began speaking in Spanish, which was not my language of choice.  So there I was, hoping that all my years studying Spanish at the University of Arizona paid off, only to be routed to a Spanish speaking operator after 5 minutes of IVR looping.  As my luck would have it that day, I needed to be transferred to a different department. No bueno!

This experience left me quite compassionate for individuals that have other unconsidered factors to deal with that further complicate the use of speech recognition IVRs, such as individuals with strong accents or even speech impediments.  How frustrating it must be for people with speech factors that cause speech recognition to fail. I’m sure they scream just as loud as I do when it comes to these IVR blunders.  Furthermore, I wonder how on earth American companies could be so shallow to rely exclusively on immature and unaccommodating speech recognition software to route the calls from their customers. Did these companies miss the memo that America is a diverse melting pot, where we don’t all sound the same? 

I can say with certainty that there is no speech recognition software that is mature enough to use exclusively for IVR solutions without the aid of DTMF menu entries. With all that being said, I challenge all readers of this blog to contact a company that has ridiculously opted for speech recognition as their primary method of call routing.  If you don’t know of any, let me give you a hint, a lot of high profile credit card companies have adopted this practice. To make this a bit more entertaining, challenge the speech recognition by incorporating a slight lisp or any other common speech impediment like stuttering and see what your experience is like using their IVR.  Better yet, call from your car with the stereo playing in the background on low, or while accompanied by noisy children – if you luck out and get a company that offers both touch tone entry and speech recognition, speak your information to see how advanced the technology is, then ask yourself if the company should use their speech recognition software as their only solution. Feel free to comment on this blog posting with your results.

I’m proud to state that it’s inContact’s business practice to consult clients into using robust, intelligent, IVR solutions for call handling needs, and limited speech recognition where appropriate, such as basic menu selections.  Advanced conversation level or subject level speech recognition is not at the level of maturity to meet the needs of our diverse market, so using this exciting technology could cause more frustration than good if not used in a basic fashion, or in conjunction with touch tone entry.  inContact has recognized this market fact, and continues taking the business of all the alleged market leaders after their customers recognize the level of dissatisfaction their speech recognition software has caused. It’s a win-win when customers get reliable ACD IVR solutions that meet their business and customer needs at price points that are hard to beat!