Magazine article CRM Magazine

'Your Call Automation Sucks'

Magazine article CRM Magazine

'Your Call Automation Sucks'

Article excerpt

I'M THE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR of both CRM and Speech Technology magazines, so you can imagine my shock when I received an email with this column's headline in the subject line. At first I thought it was an email marauder attempting to sell me something. I clicked on it anyway, just in case it wasn't.

It wasn't.

The email was from an industry consultant who had responded to a Speech Technology reporter's call for an interview. According to the email, when using our interactive voice response (IVR) system he experienced "a long, rambling monologue that provided virtually no value." He added that it "even had the please listen carefully as our stuff has changed nonsense. Surprised that you didn't have ... a couple of Your call is important to us [lines] included. When I pressed 0, the system said that wasn't valid and then turned around and told me to press 0 to reach an operator." Ouch!

To be fair, our extensions have recently changed. Information Today (the parent of both CRM and Speech Technology) recently moved its New York office to accommodate an expanded staff. With the new office, we also needed a new phone system. While we were able to port our old phone numbers to the new system, our IVR integrator told us that our extensions would change. No big deal--we don't have large call volumes. However, many of our callers already know us and likely have our old extensions, so it seemed reasonable to warn them--for a brief period, at least--about the new ones.

We're writers and editors--not IVR experts. During the implementation, I was comforted to know that an IVR integrator was handling our call automation system. However, based on what I've learned from editing Speech Technology (and common sense), I came to the conclusion that our IVR was bad--actually, very bad. I suspect that many IVR integrators either don't know what a good call automation system is, or don't care to spend too much time on small accounts. …

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