Let’s face it, if a company that you have to call into frequently has a horrific IVR, chances are you are not going to be satisfied as a customer. As a business owner, have you taken into consideration that your IVR may be contributing to poor customer service rankings? Some mildly frustrating instances that are near universal may be:

  • Trying to open a shrink wrapped DVD
  • Waiting in line to pay when the person in front is counting out pennies
  • Calling a doctor’s office only to find out everyone’s out to lunch (really? everyone at the same time?)
  • Calling your cable company because the internet is out
  • Calling a customer service call center to cancel service

So it was with a sense of dread that I called JC Penney to cancel my store charge card. I settled down anticipating a 30-minute call with spaghetti IVRs, hold times with terrible music, being shuttled around, and when I finally get to the right person, enduring multiple pitches to not cancel.

Instead, what I got was call resolution in less than 120 seconds! Here is generally how the call went:

IVR: “Thank you for calling JC Penney. Please tell me what you are calling about…”
Me: “Cancel card”
IVR: “Looks like you want to cancel your card. Is that right?”
Me: “Yes”
IVR: “Ok. Sorry to hear that. Based on your phone number, I have located your account. Are you sure you want to close this account?”
Me: “Yes”
IVR: “Your card has been cancelled and your account closed. You will receive a confirmation letter in the mail in the next 5 business days. Would you like to receive a confirmation via email to the email address on file?”
Me: “Yes”
IVR: “Great. An email has been sent to you. Thank you and good bye.”

I was floored! As a matter of fact, I was so impressed that I went back into a JC Penney store later that week and opened another card. Because any company that took the time to design such a beautiful customer experience deserves my business.

This experience speaks volumes about customer service automation. When I hear from someone that they hate IVRs, I tell them that any tool wielded improperly creates a mess.