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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
4 Reasons Customers Hate IVRs
Photo credit: Steven Lilley,
Flickr Creative Commons

Interactive Voice Response systems (IVRs) are common across many types of businesses, including banks, health clinics, and airlines. Even if you did not know the official name, it is likely you have encountered one before when trying to contact a business. Do automated phrases such as, “Press 1 to continue in English. Press 2 to continue in Spanish,” and “Enter your 16 digit account number followed by the pound key” ring a bell? Now you know what I am talking about. IVR systems can be very frustrating to customers, and here’s why:


  1. Stating information multiple times. Many IVR systems require customers to enter basic information, such as their account number, before being allowed to proceed. While this is fine, it becomes frustrating when the customer is finally transferred to a human and needs to repeat all the same information once again.

  2. Waiting to speak to a human. Long wait times are no fun. Especially when they are accompanied by annoying music or advertisements. It can also be frustrating to repeatedly hear “you are the next caller in the queue” for minutes on end without having any idea of the estimated wait time. It is often a mystery of how long customers have to wait before reaching someone who can help them with their question or concern.

  3. Repeating answers and pressing keys. IVR systems often ask customers to confirm their responses by saying “yes” or “no”. It is irritating for customers to confirm each response, as well as to continuously press buttons to continue on the call. Customers may repeatedly hit “0” in hopes of reaching an agent quicker.

  4. Too many menu options. Most of the time, customers just want to talk to a customer service agent to get their question answered quickly. It is irritating to listen to menu option after menu option, especially if a customer does not hear the option he or she is looking for.