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Is Your Phone System the 10th Circle of Hell?

By Scott Greggory

Torn Paper Bottom Edge

When I worked as a reporter, we had a special name for the most annoying call processing systems. You know, the ones that send you through five different levels of menus as you search for the person or information you need.

We called them “circles of avoidance.”

There were a few types of offenders. Some promised pressing “2” would give you an answer to your question about billing, but instead routed you to a telephone desert littered with the virtual skeletons of previous callers.

Other systems got your hopes up, suggesting that pressing a number on the keypad would lead you to the Promised Land – a real live person’s desk. Instead, they’d plop you into the voicemail of a clerk who died in 1998.

Still others would hang up on you, inspiring the kind of red-faced rage rarely seen outside of professional wrestling.

Who Are You Hurting?

Common to the city halls, courts, corporations, and in-house public relations offices we tried to contact, these evil call processing systems and their announcements seemed designed to discourage reporters from calling. But they weren’t just making us stop. They were stopping residents and customers from calling, too.

If your call processing announcements don’t deliver callers where they need to be quickly and easily, you’re violating your customers’ trust and doing damage to your brand and bottom line.

Check It Yourself

Do your call processing announcements incite frustration? Find out by navigating the system yourself, or by asking a non-customer to try it as you listen. Does the system take you to the correct extension, or does it dump you into your own circle of avoidance? If the latter is true, it’s time to rethink your system’s design and/or announcements.

You’ll never know how many frustrated callers have hung up as a result of your inefficient call processing system, or how many lost sales they represent, but you can stop future bleeding. Learn more here.