I was struck over the weekend by this article on the BBC website – Call centre menu options catalogued by frustrated man. Essentially this guy has been documenting call center menus. As the article says
“He started the project after growing frustrated about the number of options and amount of recorded information on call centre menus.”
Mr Clarke talks about the value of publishing menu trees because they help speed people through IVR systems. But why should we assume that everyone gets the same menu? Given we know where you are calling from (more or less), what time of day, whether you are calling from a number we can associate with a customer or prior call and a number of other things, why can’t we DECIDE what menus to offer you? One of Decision Management Solutions’ clients has begun to do exactly this, identifying a caller as having an open claim and then either playing a specific menu “Press 1 for a question about your open claim, Press 2 for anything else” unless it has already flagged the claim as problematic in which case the call would be routed straight to the specialists who handle potential fraud or difficult claims. Similarly deciding that there is specific information someone might want – such as the status of a flight they have booked for today (American Airlines) or their insurance card (the above mentioned client) can dramatically speed the process. Some mobile menus on feature phones are dynamic based on predictive analytics – try to present the things you are most likely to want as quickly as possible and this could be done with IVR also.
Most people don’t call often enough to learn your menu structure and, even if they do, that also means they have called often enough for your IVR system to learn about them. A decision management system that controlled your IVRs could do wonders for how people perceive them.