NYU Researchers Reveal Continued Frustration with Automated Voice Systems

BOSTON, MA, June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Interactions Corporation today announced results of a study on consumer perceptions of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems. The study was conducted by Liel Leibovitz, New York University Assistant Professor of Communications, commissioned by Interactions Corporation. The study concluded that there is continued overwhelming dissatisfaction with Interactive Voice Response Systems, despite the increased investment in, and recent growth of, the IVR industry. Consumers still view them as difficult to use and less desirable than any other service option.

IVR plays a key role in customer care delivery, and is widely used by major companies all over the world. While the Global IVR market is expected to grow to $1.9 billion by 2015, an overwhelming majority (83%) of consumers feel IVR systems provide either no benefit at all or only a cost savings benefit to the company. Only 16% of consumers feel that IVR systems benefit them.

According to consumers, a key shortcoming of IVR systems is that they are difficult to use. On an ease-of-use scale, IVR systems scored lower than any of the other service options and was the only option perceived as difficult to use. In addition, IVR was the least preferred service option with only 15% of consumers choosing IVR as their preferred option.

While past studies have indicated consumers desire increased automation in self-service, this study reveals consumers still view live help as being far easier to use than automated assistance. Additionally, the survey found that the majority of consumers (67%) still prefer live agent-provided service over other service options.

“This study reinforces why companies are seeking customer care solutions that provide a better consumer experience,” Interactions CEO Mike Iacobucci commented. “There is a significant, measurable experience gap between a customer service agent and IVR. If IVR is going to remain relevant, this gap must be narrowed.”

The consumer research was completed in two parts. In the first part, 408 respondents completed an 11-question survey about general attitudes towards IVRs and other service options. In the second part, an additional 21 respondents were interviewed in person and in depth to provide greater insight regarding these customer service options.

“The results confirm that there is significant frustration with the predominant IVR solutions available today,” said Phil Gray, Interactions EVP, “Interactions is working to fix this problem by providing a self-service alternative that engages consumers in a positive, productive experience. Getting the experience right not only benefits consumers, but also provides businesses the full economic benefit of self-service.”