IVRs can be a useful tool to help guide callers to the correct destination in a business. They can also become so unwieldy and “bloated” that they instead degrade the caller experience and customer satisfaction. A successful IVR should reduce time and effort for callers. Yet, when too many options or call paths are crammed in, wasted time and frustration result−potentially putting your brand reputation or even revenue on the line.

Parlance discovered 59 different call paths through one IVR, though 96% of callers used only 4 different call paths.

There are many reasons the IVR can become bloated. Growing call volumes may have necessitated additional offload from agents; new products and services may have required additional resource access; changes in management have led to more than one chef “stirring the soup”. Regardless, one important element becomes lost in the shuffle with IVR bloat. What are your callers really trying to do? What is there true intent? If there are numerous different call paths and menus, are you serving the most common caller needs, or trying to serve all possible needs?

To put this in perspective, let’s look at an example from a recent Parlance customer. This large insurance provider employed a complex push button IVR on their main service line. By conducting end-to-end call analysis on this service line (analyzing calls from initial dial in, through all transfers and interactions), Parlance first discovered that a full 50% of callers abandoned the call and hung-up at some point rather than completing their IVR navigation. Parlance also found that there were 59 different call paths through the IVR. However, 96% of  callers only utilized 4 different call paths. With these findings in mind, are the other 55 call paths necessary, or do they just clog up the caller experience unnecessarily, cause caller frustration, and lead to call abandonment? These findings disproved many assumptions service managers had relied upon concerning their call management processes, and has led the company to work towards a much simpler and faster, more streamlined call management process with Parlance adaptive speech automation.

IVR bloat is an all too common problem that callers face every day. Place yourself in your caller’s shoes. Is your IVR overly complex? Does it offer too many different options? How long does it take the top 3 or 4 most common interactions to make their way through the IVR? If you find wasted time and effort for many (or any) call paths, it might be time to rethink your automation solution entirely.