Phone Browsing - sunday 2003-06-29 0551 last modified 2003-07-20 0121
Categories: Nerdy, Daily Grind
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I wonder if there's a consortium that makes automated phone help systems as intractable as possible. I bet it's run by the telephone companies and the customer support departments of each corporation to increase their apparent utility in the eyes of management while avoiding contact with any actual customers.

Take Sears. You call Sears, they hang up on you. No matter what. Take Dell, you drill down to the specific of where you think you should be, and you find a dead end - and there's no way to go back up the tree. Take Sprint and Sears, you have to talk to the phone to get where you want to go, but finding out the options for what you can say is either impossible or requires yet more talking to the phone, which often turns out to, well, not work.

I can't understand why it's so hard to design a helpful phone browsing system. I wonder if anyone's done studies on how effective phone-based support navigation is, how many customers it drives away, or how accuate those voice-only systems are. I'd like to know. I think they don't work. They seem like answering machines that don't take messages.

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