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Friday, May 17, 2013

A modern circle of hell

I reference this article in the Daily Telegraph as a public service, because I for one an fed up with phone trees. The paper reports that some multi-national companies have almost 80 menu options when you try to call them. If you are able to find a shortcut then it is believed that this could save a person up to eight minutes per call.

The paper say that a Lloyds TSB home insurance customer who wishes to report a water leak would normally have to wade through 78 menu options over seven levels to get through to the correct department.  Two thirds of call centres (68%) use introductions or additional advertising between options

IT manager Nigel Clarke, 53, who spent seven years making 12,000 calls to automated phone centres, has come up with a solution. He has painstakingly catalogued the option sequences of 130 leading companies, and has now published online which numbers to press to reach the required department. Thus, the Lloyds TSB customer referred to above will find that the combination 1-3-2-1-1-5-4 will get them straight through, saving over four minutes of waiting.

Mr Clarke, who has been working on the list for seven years, cites the HMRC as one of the worst offenders, where callers can take up to six minutes to reach the correct department.

As one of the UK's busiest call centres, the Revenue receives 79 million calls per year, or a potential 4.3 million working hours just navigating menus.

Mr Clarke believes that with better menu design, at least three million caller hours could be saved here alone.

He said he became increasingly “frustrated” by the lists. "I thought to myself 'Why don't companies make life easy for their customers and simply show me the menu options before I call so I know what numbers to press to get through much more quickly?'.

"I realised I could often save a minute or two at least per call. That soon adds up in time and money with all the calls I make each year."

My only beef with this article is that it does not give the website address.

Update: The website is here
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