Phoning Call Centres? Get through their menus quickly

How is it calculated ?

The Phone Rage Index is based on a range of factors.

Initially it is based on analysis of the phone menu data for all the 200+ companies and 600+Services held on Please Press1.

The factors are weighted and include the following.

How many total options does the phone menu have ?
How many options on average per menu level ? 
Too many options in a phone menu create caller confusion, and increases the time taken to get through to talk to someone or join a queue. All too often, many totally irrelevant options are presented.  If you call a 'Car Insurance' phone number, why are you presented with 'House Insurance' as an option ? If you ring a 'service' line, why are you given 'sales' options.?  Companies should tink more about what the customer has to go through and the "customer experience".

How many levels of menu does the phone menu have ?     Basically the fewer the better. I believe that many people will tolerate short well designed menus with just a few options per level over a couple of levels.  But when you get to 4,5 or 6+ levels of buttons i.e you have had to listen and select your way through 6 levels of menu options, the customer frustration is naturally starting to build - this doesn't help them or the company or organisation they are calling and is likely to result in a less  productive conversation. 

How long do the introductions take ? 
Before the menu options are even listed, there is frequently a long spiel about who the company is regulated by, call recording for quality (evidence?) purposes, efforts to redirect you to their website etc etc  These messages often take at least 30-40 seconds and some go into 1-2 minutes. Companies should ask themselves..."Is this message really necessary ?" and then ask again "No, really.  Are we absolutely sure it is necessary ?"  Too often, they are taking the fearful route with the regulatory messages to cover themselves. But, for example, there are principles around "Treating the Customers Fairly (TCF)" - how does their phone menu design for against those principles. Is the company covering themselves with their regulators or helping the customer ?  

How long does it take to reach the service you require or at least get put in a queue ?
Some phone menus can take up to 6 minutes to get through.  How much is that costing the customer ?  Not just in terms of call charges but their own time ?  If you add up all the time wasted by consumers and businesses navigating phone calls, how much is that costing the UK Economy ?   

About 1 billion calls are made each year in the UK in call centres. Improved, more thoughful phone menu design could shorten the calls by say an average of 1 minute @ 10p a minute could save £100 million !   Not only that, 1 billion minutes equates nearly 8,000 working years !  What could be achieved with that time and money ?

What do the Users/Customers think of the service ?
Please Press 1 has given the platform to the voice of the frustrated consumer who make hundreds of comments about the phone menus and service they receive from companies. Some give praise and credit where it is due, but the majority are tales of frustration and bad customer experiences.  

What can companies do about it ?
As well as improving their phone menu design, companies and organisations can post their phone numbers and menus on Please Press 1 for FREE - they can show they care about their customers and that they want to help them. Perhaps that will help ensure they do not appear in the next Phone rage Index...

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