I hate PIN numbers: let’s get that out there right from the start. That said, not long ago I was working with a major UK telecom provider. They had a big problem with customers taking a long time to identify themselves when calling to self serve in the IVR. The difficulty was that the customers were supposed to remember a four-digit code in order to verify themselves after their CLI (phone number) was captured. Now it’s only four digits right? AND the customers chose the four digits themselves: so why the huge number of drop-backs to the call centre?
When I call my mobile company I get a nice, branded IVR (we designed the persona and customer experience for their premier line), I confirm that I’m enquiring about my business phone (nice personalisation, they obviously know my number). It’s noticeable that I go through 2 or 3 different systems, because they sound different, and you hear a ring tone in-between, which is pretty inexcusable (someone changed that since we did our bit), but it’s not as bad as when I transfer to an agent, and they ask for my mobile number, then they transfer me to another agent, and ask for my number again. This is MY mobile company, and they don’t even know my number! Correction, they do know my number, they just can’t be bothered to use it to help me. Now, we’ve all got a bit used to this kind of thing. I do still try to say to the agent ‘I already entered my number, don’t you have it on your screen?’ ‘No’, they say, ‘it doesn’t always come up’, or something like that.
Let’s face it, in any small medium or large enterprise the decisions made, both strategic and tactical, require careful consideration. That’s why I find it amazing that companies still allow their primary contact channel to be represented in an ad hoc way.