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Changes to the IVR: Why did they make it worse?

Posted by thewinchester thewinchester
Message 1 of 3 1,141 Views

Ok, it seems that in the last few days - the IVR tree has changed... for the worse. Smiley Mad

 

Previously, when I needed to speak to a human, it was a maximum of two options to get through, and you could get your selections done in under 15 seconds.

 

This morning, to speak to someone about my newly minted top-tier credit card product, it was four options - and made worse by there being some very long winded announcements and messages to listen to for finding the right options.

 

The new IVR tree took me 45 seconds to navigate. I know, because I was looking at the timer displayed on my phone, and the options I wanted were annoying right at the end of the tree for some steps.

 

These changes are an extreemly backward step for BWA. I've worked in the contact centre industry for more years than I care to remember, and I've been on the receiving end (both as an agent, a supervisor and manager) when customers are annoyed by IVR's. It's a very fine balance between getting the customer to the best queue, whilst ensuring the best customer experience possible.

 

Sadly, these changes go too far - and the balance in the new IVR tree has tilted too far towards queue routing needs, and away from delivering a positive customer expeirence. The simplicity and perfection of the prior tree has been entirely lost.

 

And that's before mentioning that there's no announcement that the options have changed (another annoying misstep in rolling this out).

 

So, no point being a naysayer - how can BWA make me happier with it's phone IVR tree. Here's some suggestions, in order of preference and ease of implimentation:

 

  1. Simplify: Please, for the love of all things holy, reduce the number of options from the new IVR tree. There's too many, it's hard to navigate, and it takes too long.
    Ideally - Print out all the documentation and correspondance that lead to this new IVR tree, stick it in a 44 gallon drum outside Bankwest Place, set it on fire, film its ceremonal destruction as an apology to customers for positing on social media (with a to camera introduction for the 'stunt' delivered by the appropriate Executive Manager for Customer Service), then restore the old configuration whilst the responsible team revisits and rebuilds it from the ground up.
  2. Personalise: Rather than generic options for all customers, ask if i'm a new or existing customer. If i'm an existing customer, ask me to verify myself with my PAN and either my voice pass or Phone Banking PIN (and make sure agents know the customer is already verified to speed things up). And if the existing customer lacks one or more of these - just skip over and go to default options.
  3. Expidite/prioritise: Based on the customers profile, provide priority routing on the queues based on the customers relationship with the bank and the product i'm calling about. If my call is an enquiry about my existing credit card, then prioritise the calls based on the product - i.e. top tier cards (such as those talked about in whispers - i.e. the World cards, or any other unpublished products) should bump up to the top of that queue.
  4. Expectations and callback: When the queues are overloaded, authenticated customers shouldn't need to wait. Frequently update me on the estimated queue time and/or my position in the queue, and give me an option to request a callback once i'm routed to the right queue for my enquiry. If you want to get really smart, enable me to cancel the callback - either when the automated system dials me, or via an SMS if the callback is to a mobile.

 

I hope the creative apology idea in (1) gives the forums team a chuckle.

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Re: Changes to the IVR: Why did they make it worse?

Posted by PeteW PeteW
Message 2 of 3 1,087 Views

Thanks for your feedback, as always @thewinchester and I'm really sorry it's taken longer than normal to get back to you! It's always great to hear from our customers before, during and after we make changes.

 

Below is a summary of my chat with the team responsible for this change after I read your post. Importantly, the changes we've made have been designed to improve the overall customer experience and this is based on customer/call data as well as customer feedback we've received through satisfaction surveys.

 

Over the last year we've made changes to our IVR which have led to significant increases in the percentage of calls landing with the right customer service agent, first time round - but we still had improvements to make. We designed this new IVR menu after months of deep dive analysis on the reason for calls, how often customers needed to be transferred and so on. The changes we have made are designed to increase the the number of customers that are connected to the right person first time, helping to ensure a one-stop-shop approach. So while it may take an extra step and a little more time, it'll reduce the number of times you're transferred which is a better experience and reduces the length of time it takes our agents to help you.

 

I like the point you made about personalisation and I'm sure you'd agree that we focus on that here on the Forum. So you should be pleased to hear that when you call us our service agents receive a whisper based on your IVR selection to give them a heads up about what you're calling for and your account details should already be on their screen so they can greet you, identify you and help with your enquiry. Ultimately, over time this will help the turn around time for your enquiry.

 

Unfortunately our phone system doesn't enable us to update you on where you're at in the queue but over the last number of months, we've developed wait time messaging within the system capabilities and the expected wait time of your call is quoted after you select an option.

 

As with any change, we assess the impact/response and are open to learning and adapting. We're here to help make banking easier, which is why we make changes based on our customer feedback as well as our business needs.

 

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Re: Changes to the IVR: Why did they make it worse?

Posted by thewinchester thewinchester
Message 3 of 3 1,085 Views

PeteW wrote:
Importantly, the changes we've made have been designed to improve the overall customer experience and this is based on customer/call data as well as customer feedback we've received through satisfaction surveys.

 


I'm sure this was the goal, but the execution has honestly failed. As I said earlier, it's swung way too far towards getting people to the right place, rather than being conveinent for the customer.

 


PeteW wrote:

So while it may take an extra step and a little more time...

 


And that's the key point.

When you are calling about an enquiry on your existing credit card, have to go through four long menus, for four different options, taking 45sec - it's too much time. Way too much time.

It should not take 45sec to get the right person on the phone. Period.

It should not feel like it takes forever to go through the options. Period.

A customer shouldn't feel like they've just navigated a maze (even an educated one who has grown up programming a parents VCR or making DOS batch menus), or read the whole storyline in a Choose Your Own Adventure book, just to get someone on the phone.


PeteW wrote:
I like the point you made about personalisation and I'm sure you'd agree that we focus on that here on the Forum. So you should be pleased to hear that when you call us our service agents receive a whisper based on your IVR selection to give them a heads up about what you're calling for and your account details should already be on their screen so they can greet you, identify you and help with your enquiry. Ultimately, over time this will help the turn around time for your enquiry.

 


Sorry @PeteW, but if my experience in the last couple of days is anything to go by, this isn't delivering any value now. And I'll be honest, I doubt very much it's going to deliver any value in the future.

And if your IVR wasn't already giving your agents a heads up about the queue/selections the customer made before these changes - then your Call Centre Technologies/Telephony team needs to seriously consider alternative employment.

 

You've also missed the point about personalisation and verification - which is something the majority of banks have implimented successfully. The lack of this, and a number of other key advances, really makes BWA seem like a poor cousin to the rest of the industry.

 

And yes, those last two paragraphs were more than a little harsh - but that's how strongly I feel about these issues. If this was my company, in this state, then i'd actually personally be quite embarassed.

 

Whilst the intent may have been to make getting phone service and support easier - it really hasn't worked thus far. I'm open to being convinced otherwise, but given my background and experience in this area, and from what i've seen - I wouldn't hold my breath for it to happen.

 

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