TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Typical Business Telephone Sets Today?

Re: Typical Business Telephone Sets Today?

Joseph (
Sat, 06 Aug 2005 09:18:13 -0700

On Fri, 05 Aug 2005 08:37:45 GMT, The Kaminsky Family
<> wrote:

> I think you may have missed the point. Once you have given your
> account code to the automated system, that account number should
> be directly available on the human agent's screen when the agent
> gets your call. It's easy enough for a decent automated system
> to handle this -- but it is surprising to me that so many automated
> systems seem to have been assembled by folks who just don't get it
> (or perhaps by folks who really don't like their employer ...).

I think it's the implementation of systems and not being consistant
with systems. I've called T-Mobile on several occasions and in the
"log in process" when you call they ask you to enter your ten digit
phone number. If you ask for certain information such as billing they
will ask for the last four digits of your SSN. Then the frustrating
thing sometimes happens when you speak to a rep. They don't have
*any* of the information that you have keyed in. It's not always this
way but it is a lot of the time. I've asked reps why this is and they
claim it's because those identifying fields are not filled in on their
display. I'd say that this is a technical problem which could be
fixed if there was a demand for it.

> It is certainly not easy to design an excellent user interface for a
> customer -- especially if you are not willing to spend what it takes
> to get a good speech recogition engine (and to train it for your
> application -- getting the grammar rules right is an art, but there
> are systems available in the market now whch do an excellent job).
> But designing an excellent user interface for your human agents should
> be a whole lot easier -- and that interface should start by gathering
> everything the customer has entered so far on this call.

I have seen really good IVR implementations such as what T-Mobile
uses. With T-Mobile's IVR you are not limited to just the standard
commands that the IVR expects you to give. It will do all sorts of
normal variants e.g. saying representative, operator, or assistance
will transfer you to a real person. Saying text message or saying SMS
will give you your text message use. There are also "touch tone"
shortcuts. If you want minute useage key 2. For billing key 1. For
a representative key 0.

Then on the other hand extremely poor implementation of an IVR you can
look at Fido (mobile provider in Canada.) It will only understands
the exact words it wants to understand. Even on words that it's
supposed to know such as "agent" you'll get fed back "I didn't get
that" repeatedly. Also the Fido IVR absolutely does not permit any
touch tone input for any menu items. If you do you get "that function
is not supported." You can't even time out to get a real person!

Another problem with IVRs is if you're using it with a mobile handset
any outside noise will confuse the IVR. Why mobile providers think
it's a good thing to use IVRs with mobile services I have yet to

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