John, Paul, George, Ringo and IVR

John, Paul, George, Ringo and IVR

One thing people complain about with IVRs is the music they have to listen to during the long waits (but we know they’re really complaining about the wait itself). If you think about it, those IVR systems are really playing an endless loop of Beatles songs.

The Long and Winding Road

(Listen) That’s how customers view menu trees.

Get Back

(Listen) Which sometimes is impossible to do if they hit the wrong button.

Act Naturally

(Listen) They wish they could, using natural language voice commands

Medley: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me/ Long, Long, Long

(Listen / Listen) Speaks for itself, I think.


(Listen) Because the Beatles never wrote a song called Representative!

There’s absolutely no reason why any customer, today, with the technology that’s available and affordable, should have this kind of IVR experience.

I think we know what a good IVR experience is. It’s one where the system knows you. It uses your name once you authenticate. It only asks you to enter information once, no matter where you travel through the menus. It eliminates menu options that are irrelevant to your current profile: if you don’t have any open orders it doesn’t ask if you want to track them. It knows what tasks you’ve recently started or completed. It makes self service and payment simple by integrating with all your other channels.

That’s what makes for a good experience. For me. For you. And for your customers.

Now, there’s nothing inherent in IVR technology that prevents any of this from happening for your customers. The industry standard for system design doesn’t mandate we include a “make it hard” algorithm. Just the opposite is true: first quality systems are designed to let you provide exactly this kind of customer experience. So I’m afraid that points the finger at you. If you’re not delivering this kind of IVR experience to your customer, it’s because you’re not moving in the right direction.

What stops people from taking this next, best step? We’ve got good insight into that since we talk with people about their concerns every day of the week. I’d say it’s three things: fear of disruption, cost, and risk of return. I think it (almost) goes without saying that USAN (along with our first-tier competitors) wouldn’t still be in business if we hadn’t solved all three of those concerns. But that’s for another, more salesy, discussion (if you’d like to have one of those, we’d love to hear from you).

Look into it—touch base and see where the industry is today. There’s a very good chance that the gap between your current IVR functionality and what it should be is not as wide, and not nearly as difficult to bridge, as you think. And that means it’s going to be a lot easier to give your customers what they must have to stay customers.


(Listen) Hey, the Beatles weren’t the only band in town!