Ok, this departs somewhat from the Home-based business posts, but sometimes it’s good for small home businesses to look at what large companies are doing and perhaps do what they’re doing or in many cases, AVOID what they’re doing.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is a mixed bag. It went like this when I called UPS:
I called 1-800-PICK-UPS (742-5877)
‘Thank you for calling UPS. What would you like to do? You can say Track a Package, Send a Package, Shipping Information or Order Supplies.’
I remained silent.
‘I didn’t hear you! Please say Track a Package, Send a Package, Shipping Information or Order Supplies.’
I still remained silent.
‘I’m sorry, I still didn’t hear you. You can say Track a Package (or press 1), Send a Package (or press 2), Shipping Information (or press 3), Order Supplies (or press 4). Otherwise say Agent (or press zero).’
Note that it took until the third time before they gave the numbers to press for the options and revealed that there was a “Zero Out” option.
Evidently, UPS thinks it’s easier for people to speak ‘Shipping Information’ than to take their index finger and poke ‘3’. Is it? I suppose it depends on the situation. If you’re the cell phone user, it probably is easier because you usually have the phone up to your ear and to press ‘3’, you’d have to take the phone away to hit the button. Furthermore, if you’re a cell phone user and you’re driving a vehicle, certainly a voice response is preferable to taking your hand off the wheel to press a button.
On the other hand, there are still plenty of stationary desk phones out there and there are still plenty of reasons why a voice response may not be preferable. I can think of at least 3. The caller is mute or has a speech impediment. The caller is in a noisy place. The caller does speak or understand the language very well.
By the way, the reason I called is that I was trying to schedule a pickup. I didn’t see those options listed and I had to speak with agent. Until the last desk phone is gone and these other barriers have been removed, I tend to think UPS should give those numeric options up front. What do you think?