It’s not fair—all the United bashing going on around here—but the recent post titled “Don’t Make Me Scream” over at SvN struck a chord, especially since designing and writing speech applications for large enterprises like United is what we do at Versay.
I couldn’t agree more with Matt’s rant. Many speech IVR applications out there are terrible, not just United. Too often I find myself walking down a street on my mobile phone trying to get information, only to be greeted by a cheerful voice asking way too many questions and getting seriously confused by the sounds of trucks and cars and other random background noise. Knowing how these systems are designed makes me an even more demanding user. I know they can do better and it is frustrating that best practices are so infrequently used.
A particular pet peeve is the situation where I navigate through an application, patiently providing things like account information, reservation information, and the like. . . and then when I am transferred to an agent. . . yep. . . I am asked the same questions all over again. Unacceptable. As a client of ours once remarked (when describing our shared golden rule about the hand-off between automated and live customer service): “If you ask it, pass it”. Granted it’s not always the easiest feature to implement, but for my money it is essential.
So, Matt, I hear you loud and clear and I can assure you that we are working with our clients every day to improve their UIs and to re-think high-quality, yet cost-effective customer service.