Don’t get me wrong, I visit “the House the Mouse built” at least once every year. This time of year I attend the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) as it coincides with my wedding anniversary. I make my reservations through the Disney World Central Reservations line.
This time however I got a bit of a surprise. The IVR system is voice activated now and combines reservations for Walt Disney World and Disneyland. In addition, the IVR asks “why you are calling?” When I responded “reservations inquiry” (as I wanted to inquiry about resort reservations) the system said “Oh, Dining Reservations” and proceeded down the wrong track. Some will say I am at fault for not being explicit, but who is the customer here? Apparently, I have to adjust to their system.
So, I call back adjusting my response to fit their system.
Me: Resort reservation inquiry
IVR: OK, Resort reservations (not really what I wanted as we’ll see later) What would you like to do? Would you like a new, modify, . . . or ask a question?
Me: Ask a question.
IVR: Are you calling about a Disney Vacation package?
Me: No (wasn’t sure how to answer this, I was afraid of the response “maybe”).
IVR: Does your party have 8 or more people?
Have you been to Walt Disney World before?
IVR: Have you visited at least once since 2004?
IVR: Have you visited 5 or more times in your lifetime?
IVR: OK, please enter your resort reservation number.
Me (to myself): Oops haven’t deciphered the new system yet, resort reservation inquiry = existing reservation . . . hang-up.
When I eventually reach an agent on the phone, they want more information about me and my family. This must be CRM at work . . . you know, more intrusive. I am not sure I got the “specialist” I was promised, but I eventually got the information I needed . . . about 60 minutes later.
More entrapping technology that adds no value to the customer, way too many branches. And a perceived 5 – 10 minute phone conversation turns into almost an hour with two call backs. This IVR system neither saves money or improves service.
- How many misroute themselves?
- How many people would give up after the first 2 calls?
Unknown and unknowable, but the cost accountants think putting off customer demand or self-routing saves money.
I have better, systems thinking call center management and IVR solutions. These are counter-intuitive, but would save Disney (and any other service organization) huge sums of money. The steps are:
- Understand customer demand and the variety posed by customers.
- Get measures associated with these demands.
- Design against demand.
In many cases, we find no need for an IVR system . . . a management paradox. Also (a free-be for Disney), combining Disney World and Disney land call center calls doesn’t necessarily decrease costs and in most cases, increases them. This step-by-step method will help lower costs profoundly and increase customer satisfaction.
Share your experiences with IVRs and call centers. Comment below.www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected]. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbitt or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.
Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Download free fromShare This: