Talking about hotlines.
There were five men talking about the frustrations of making calls to government hotlines. I guess this applies to 99.999999% of all hotlines, not just government ones.
Except for businesses where call volumes are very low and there's no need for an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, most companies have some kind of IVR.
"Thank you for calling XXX. This call may be recorded for training purpose.... For English, press 1....."
It's so common now that one could even select the number without listening to the full message if you call often enough.
This is supposed to make it easier and faster for customers to obtain the relevant information quickly without having to wait to speak to an agent. This will also lighten the workload of agents so that they can focus on serving the more difficult cases.
More often than not, the IVR left customers more frustrated instead of helping solve their problems.
How many times have you come across yourself pressing all the correct button and realize that you've come to a dead end? How many times have you come across yourself using an IVR without the option to go back to the previous menu? How often were you kept holding on waiting to speak to an agent and ended up being asked to email/fax in your enquiries or call back again and got hanged up? Or hitting a button only to be told this department is closed?
More often than not, trying to reach to speak to an agent is like going for a 10 barrier obstacle course with the danger of being eliminated at any stage. Or playing a game of jigsaw puzzle or merry-go-round trying to find the correct number to press?
The worst I've came across is one that used voice recognition. It's a challenge for me to speak in the "most" perfect English in my life.
What if your IVR is programmed this way?
"Thank you for calling XXX. If you need to speak to an agent urgently, please press 0. Otherwise, please listen on...."
When customers press 0, they will hear this message.
"You are the number XX caller. There are XX number of calls in the line and average waiting time is XX minutes. If your call is really urgent, please be patient and we'll be with you as long as you are still on the line. Otherwise, you may press # to listen to other options while we keep your queue number."