A recent article in Adage, shared the findings of an Oracle study:

“67% of consumers will stop doing business with a company following a poor customer service experience. Another 86% said they would be willing to pay more money for a better-quality service.”

There’s no doubt that metrics like this are common knowledge in marketing circles. However, if that’s the case, why aren’t automated systems more intuitive?

The answers, experts suggest, are in the way manufacturers originally designed IVRs. According to the experts Adage interviewed, IVRs were designed to make customer management easier for businesses and not to make customers happy.

The Roundabout

If you’re like most people have called companies for help, you can only measure good customer service by a handful of positive experiences you’ve had with one good call center agent or another; not by the experiences you always have when calling one particular company. The facts remain that:

  • Calling for help is still frustrating for most people;
  • Call menus continue to get longer. They also ask for more information through prompts than ever before; and
  • When the customer finally reaches a real person, the rep has no record of the information the consumer has typed in and has to repeat her whole concern. The same thing often happens from rep to rep. If the customer winds up needing to talk to a different department; when she’s finally patched through to the right one, she often has to repeat her whole concern.

Experts say this annoying call journey exists because of the illusive devices that IVR systems use to ease customer frustration. When IVR’s request information from callers, the systems play a recording of typing and keypad-like sounds to make customers think the systems are recording their answers when they’re really not.

In addition, sound designers have learned that popular hold music can entice customers to think they’re holding for less time. An intolerable 30 seconds can almost triple to 80 seconds of patient customer hold time. Though this is very valuable to businesses, the type of hold music that will engage customers the most is typically too expensive for smb’s to buy the rights to play.

Therefore, more often than not, customers dwindle their weekends, lunch hours and first hours home from work away while enjoying? some combination of hold music, recorded messages, prompts and keypad sounds; until a rep finally responds.

Are Companies Doing Enough?

Companies are taking steps to remedy these situations by allowing customers to request callbacks instead of waiting on hold.

  1. Customers can press a button while in-call to request a callback, or
  2. They can send a message via Twitter, text or Facebook

Though many feel it’s not enough, it’s still a step in the right direction. However, if a company finds they need to attract or retain more customers, it might be wise to incorporate automated CRM improvements into any advertising budget, so that customers will not have to:

  • Remain on hold for long, indefinite periods,
  • Suffer through boring hold music or useless announcements,
  • Experience up to five transfers because no one knows what department can resolve their issue, or
  • Have to constantly repeat their concern to multiple bots and human attendants

Businesses can design better and more creative on-hold messages and offer customers useful information, entertainment or even valuable free gifts. Insight Squared shared some customer service statistics that should make any company think twice about their approach to customer service.

According to New Voice:

  • 44% of US consumers switch to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.
  • 89% have switched once or twice in the last year.
  • 53% switch because they feel unappreciated.
  • 32% switch because they are fed up with speaking to multiple agents.

And according to Accenture:

82% felt that their service provider could have done something to prevent them from switching.”

Contact us to start tailoring your customer engagement process. We can seamlessly integrate your phones and crm systems, so that you can the take steps you need to run a more customer-focused business!


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Dan Sincavage

Dan Sincavage

Dan is a Co-Founder of Tenfold and currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer. Dan oversees the Tenfold sales organization, manages strategic partner relationships and works with key enterprise accounts to ensure their success with the Tenfold platform.

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