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RE the IVR -- it's a mess

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RE the IVR -- it's a mess

I have been in inside sales management both in a corporate environment and as a consultant since 1973 and the one thing I learned is that the customer experiecen is critically important.


The way you treat people on the phone, even to the point of how you communicate is vital to making them feel great and in my case getting them to buy.


Of all the companies I deal with I most dread have to call Comcast for any kind of help whatsoever as I can count on talking to a machine that dosen't understand my questions and will continue to ask me questions that are not relevant to my call. I believe I average 4-8 minute fighting with the IVR trying to get my problem resolved no matter how simple it might be.


Currently, my internet is dog slow so I called in to to talk to an agent. Your system did its best to keep me from talking to a real person so I hung up and did a hard reset of my modem. My internet was still dog slow so I called again and let the system do a reset - it told me that my phones would go down then never did. I called back and the system said it could see I was in the middle of a reset and still refused anything I did to try to get to an agent -- the way this works you should just have the system say "We would prefer not to talk to you please choose and item in our menu ( even if it's not the one you want" -- the system acutally hung up on my deciding I was done and terminating the call. I called again and somehow managed to get a tech support rep on the phone who discovered after 40 minutes of the system wasting my time that a tech visit would be necessary.


Every single rep I have talked to I have mentioned how terrible the IVR is, being a phone guy I am likely far more sensitive to poor phone communications than most. EVERY agent has told me that they get lots of complaints and they've been telling me that, I'd bet, for YEARS.


This problem is so fregking simple to solve, or at least greatly improve yet all the changes you have be making seem to just change the nature of the pain. You are quite lucky you don't have a solid competitor form and offering stand point that does things well, or I belive your customers would be fleeing.


I would love to help you fix this but in the mean time here are some ideas.


First, of all you need to teach the system to recongize "aggravation" in the voice so it can change directly and get people to an agent when the get frustrated if you are going to keep this mess up system as is.


Second, you must give people a way to get an agent, even though it would appear that you simply don't want to have them talk to a real person. Your system rarely if ever has a menu item that matches my question and often I know for a fact the system isn't going to offer me what I want.


This simple solution here that after 2 question by the IVR, if the person says agent 2 times on the third it transfers without further backtalk.


The menus and menu tree need to be SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE  and with direct lines of flow.


Entry Point -- On reciveing the call the systme should completely identify the caller and their account - this should not be done again excpet for the agent asking to confirm the name or street number


The systsm should the ask the customer what department they want.


  1. Billing 
  2. Sales
  3. Tech Support
  4. Customer Support


IF they ask for sales, support, or customer service the system should as for what product...


  1. TV
  2. Internet
  3. Telephone

These should be simple memus...


Please press 1 for sales 2 for support or 3 for customer service.


The above two question should identify the service and the product then put the caller to that entity.


Support , Internet


Once the customer is here you can ask about the issue...


Press 1 for slow internet

Press 2 for no connection

Press.... etc.


The above should take less than 2 minutes, probably less than 1.

You can ask the customer if they have done a reset first if that is the first step. If they have done one the system should immediately pass them to a tech rep.

You should make a agent available if the customer doesn't want a reset, probably because they don't think that is the answer.


If the system can't find a connection with the customer within a short time it should offer to pass them to an agent. This might even be done on a timer as well as conversation content...

"I'm sorry it seems we are having difficulty helping you, let me pass you to an agent."


For heavens sake quit trying to SELL them on what you want giving a 30 second explanation of why they should do a reset after they have said NO.


NO ONE should be on the phone for more that a minute or two without getting to what they need - if the system can find the answer by them it should offer the agent.


I probably spent at leaset 20 minutes and multiple calls before I got to the agent - he had to do everything over again so I was probably on that call 10 minutes.


I can assure you of one thing - THAT IS NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE. Your customers are NOT have a good expereince - you are irritating them annoying them, and wasting their time. That seems a pretty low bar for such a powerful company!!