Press 0, 0, 0, #, 0, *, 1…….

A few months ago, I shared agreat post over at Dooce about Self Service.  In it, we looked at Self Service kiosks and the frustrations that people feel about having to “do work the store should be doing.”   Notwithstanding, in the name of efficiency and lower costs, the rise in Self Service tools continues. 

One particular problem that we run into on a daily basis is that of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) when we call our bank, credit card company, satellite provider…the list goes on.  I have yet to meet one person who loves dealing with the “phone tree from hell” that I have head it be so eloquently described as…

For the one or two people who have never experienced the endless phone trees, usually it goes something like this:

Thannk you for calling Acme Corporation.  Your call is very important to us.  Please listen carefully to the following menu.

For Customer Support, press 1, to sign up for Acme’s products, press 2, for….

(you press 1)

Welcome to Customer Support.  Please enter the Product Number located on your item….

(you miraculously enter the 18 digit number correctly)

Thank you!  For better assistance, please enter your home telephone number….

(Arghhhhhh!!!! at this point you hang up….and then have to start all over again)

Enter Get Human – a website that lists hundreds of companies (pretty close to a 1000 at this point) and how to bypass their Phone Trees to get to a live person (hence 

Why do we have this?  Isn’t the purpose of the Phone Tree to “better serve the customer”?

If you have a phone tree, listen to it.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.  Does it need to be redesigned?  What can you do to make it work for you and keep your customers happy?  After all, we can use technology to keep our customers, not to alienate them.

I’d love to heard your thoughts and thanks for reading,



2 responses to “Press 0, 0, 0, #, 0, *, 1…….

  1. I work for a community bank where you have a choice! You can call our IVR 24/7 or you can call our Customer Service department and someone will answer the phone. You may be on hold for a few minutes during a busy time, but no “press 0” etc! Call us and check it out: 707.524.3000

  2. The problem with dealing with the phone tree menus has always been a great frustration for us. We have added to our website popular phone tree menus.
    You can view the phone trees before choosing which number to press.
    Also you can view which extension leads to a live operator.

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