The Modern Equivalent Of Dante’s Circles of Hell

A former IT Manager has hit the headlines with an interactive guide which has been designed to help callers navigate through “press 1” mazes.   Over the past seven years, Nigel Clarke has pressed thousands of buttons in a bid to build a definitive database of some of the most commonly used call centre pathways.

Comparing the way in which callers may have to navigate through over eighty options and seven levels as “the modern equivalent of Dante’s circles of hell“ , Mr Clarke has turned a private passion into a full time occupation.  The guide currently lists access pathways for some 560 services across 130 of the more mainstream companies.

Originally introduced to save callers from being passed from person to person in their search for assistance, the very success of press button menus has in part lead to their overuse by some organisations.  In research earlier this year consumer group Which found that a combination of press button menus interspersed with advertising and recommendations to look at the website meant that callers to some companies spent over ten minutes pressing buttons and listening to messages before they were put through to an operative.

But whatever your view of press button menus, if carefully designed with the client in mind they can speed up the calling process and improve customer service.  As with any telephone service, the key is in designing a pathway which is backed up by adequate staffing levels.  For example, if choosing a sales option puts the caller through to a single individual who may be away from their desk then the client will swiftly become frustrated.  Linking the same option to a hunt group, to a virtual assistant service or to an answerphone with a promise of a call back within a set period means the potential customer is far more likely to be satisfied.

Another option which businesses may consider to improve the client calling experience is caller recognition.  With the virtual switchboard programmed to recognise the caller’s dialling code or entire phone number the phone system can automatically switch the call to a nominated contact or regional department before any button options are pressed. 

With a range of telephony options at a business manager’s fingertips, the key to providing a positive call experience is to design the system from the point of view of the caller.  By first laying out the pathways on paper, testing the system (perhaps via the Callagenix free try before you buy offer) and then modifying as necessary, an organisation can  finish up providing clients with a smooth and fast telephone experience.

Written by Marketing