Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Fix Your Front-end Now!

frustrated customerMy campaign to get everyone to fix their “IVR” or front-end menus and scripts starts NOW. We have all heard the complaints – whether from customers of your specific contact center, or just from friends and family who presume you are a sympathetic ear for their most recent suffering at the hands of bad user interface design. Nobody likes the maze they inevitably hit when they call a contact center. And it’s obvious why: long menus with confusing or irritating scripts, clunky identification and verification, dead ends, exits (if they can be found!) that often lead to a “do over” of all that was already provided, and at times, a transfer to add insult to injury. It doesn’t have to be this way! It’s not that expensive or time-consuming to get it right. In my humble opinion, fixing the front-end should be at or near the top of each center’s “to do” list. As a collective industry, I think it may be the single most impactful thing we could do to improve the image of customer service.

Start with an audit of the existing interface. We use our affiliate, Enterprise Integration Group, Inc. (EIG), when our clients need to tackle this common problem, because they bring uncommon expertise and insights. It’s all they do, and they have research and experience to back up their recommendations. Engaging an expert removes the guesswork, emotions, and “too many cooks in the kitchen” which often lead to the sorry state of menus and scripts. A comprehensive audit looks at a variety of factors that impact the user experience, including the flow, voice recordings, error handling and messages, and more.

After the audit identifies the fixes you need to make, proceed to redesign. You – and your customers – will be amazed at the improvement that can come from a little tuning. Redesign will streamline messages and present menus with easy and clear navigation. Your caller irritation factor will drop, containment and authentication rates will increase, and you will also get people to the right place if they need assistance – even if they are the types who “just want to talk to somebody.” Our recommendation on this step is again to engage experts like EIG. While some of the changes may feel like “common sense,” they are clearly not that common. A little investment goes a long way in getting it right, saving you time and energy, and delivering a greater ROI.

As you implement the changes, don’t skimp. Use a professional voice on those freshly revamped messages. Apply a healthy dose of testing. Tune where needed and you will be on your way to a “transformed” user experience before you know it.

A recent example will drive home the opportunity that awaits you: An audit showed the client could reduce the opening menu length by 80%. They can get more callers who “bail out” to the right queues with a very user friendly approach. They can improve the percentage of callers who handle simple things in automation by positively presenting the functions it offers. Everyone benefits from the redesign as the company accomplishes the cost improvements they seek while the customer experience improves dramatically.

So what are you waiting for? Fix your front-end now!