Revolt against interactive voice response systems

We really value your call, so much so that we are answering it by computer!

If bioteaming is about making organisations and teams more alive then the current generation of Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRs) must be the complete antithesis of bioteaming.

The demise of these kinds of IVR system have been long predicted however until (and unless) this happens if you are fed up with dealing with the IVR at your bank, retailer or government department and just want to find a real human to talk to then check out Paul English’s blog.

He includes an ‘IVR cheat sheet’ which lists a hundred or so corporate IVRs and what to say or what to key in to bypass them altogether and get yourself put through to a human operator.

For example, for IKEA the cheat sheet tells you to ‘hit ""0"" many times fast, if you do it once, or too slow, it will merely repeat the menu’!

Comments (0)| Related (3) |

Print this article


Ah Now ! Natural Voice Response Systems are now pretty stable and pretty reliable. The evidence from the analyst side and from the industry mag ( would indicate that people are quite happy to use IVR as long as it is appropriate to that interaction. In some instances they actually prefer automated interaction (i.e. when the enquiry might be personally embarrassing). Given the massive cost savings that good IVR's deliver, the question is now do I need IVR, but where is it appropriate for us to us it; who is in charge of making sure it works; and is it delivering the brand experience we desire. We are in the early stages of the new gen IVR systems and I have heard it equated with the early web sites. Disclaimer: I am involved in a company that is based on next gen IVR technology.


When will we learn that angry reactionary outbursts are never the real way to progress.... I am sure there was a Paul English for the horse and buggy and against trains and cars, and a Paul English against the airplane and for trains and cars, and a Paul English against electric light and for good old warm candle light, and a Paul English against the pesky telephone and for the respectful and genteel letter, and a Paul English againt the cold type writer and for the warm pen and pencil, and a Paul English against the robotic personal computer and for the trusty type writer, etc., etc. History is littered with Paul Englishes who think they are fighting for the rights of the little man when in fact they are simply out to make some transient noise....

The irony -- which seems to have been completely missed by Mr. English -- is that his call for the human touch is in fact a call to ensure that the job of the operator/agent on the other end of the line is as soul-deadning as possible. If Mr. English had his way, we should not try to replace by a robot the operator that asks you for state and city and then the name of the contact, and then give you the phone number. Imagine the daily work life of this operator. Deaden the soul of that person so that Mr. English can get his 'human touch'.

It's easy to bash automation, but thank God for it. It has made our life a lot easier (imagine a world without ATMs for a second).

For some constructive advice on what companies should do to make phone automation better, see:


Bioteams Books Reviews

Seven team decision-making methods

Seven team decision-making methods
The way a team decides to decide is one of the most important decisions it makes. In the excellent book, "Why Teams Don't Work" the authors, Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, identify seven key decision-making methods for teams.

Buy it now from:

(3) |

continue reading

Click here to check all Bioteams book reviews

Ken's LinkedIn Profile

Follow Ken's Blogs

NASA Widget2_160x40.jpg


Featured Categories

Trending Topics

agility analytics ants autopoiesis bees biomimicry bioteaming bioteams change management collaboration Collaboration collective intelligence community complex systems dashboards digital dashboards ecosystems excel experiential learning flock games high-performing teams HPT innovation leadership learning meetings messaging mobile phones organizational teams penguins pheromones self-managed teams serious games simulators social media Social Networks social networks social software swarm swarm intelligence swarmteams teams teamwork The Networked Enterprise tit for tat VEN videos virtual communities virtual enterprise virtual enterprise networks virtual teams visualization web2.0 wisdom of crowds

Click for more...

Featured Article

Team joining hands

The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams

Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams... more

Locations of visitors to this page

Bioteams iphone app
Bioteams android app


Bioteams Lite


Latest Full Articles

Bioteams Assessor - Instantly check how good your team is?
BioScore Calculator – Instantly see if you need Bioteams
Discover Bioteams principles Yourself via Action Learning

Bioteams Manifesto

Communities and Networks Connection

Bioteams Ice-Breaker Zone

Only Fools and Horses Video Clip Funny Team Collaboration Video Dilbert Mission Statement Generator Ali G Video Funny Red Dwarf Video  FatherTed  Pixar

News Feed

Sign up for RSS   RSS Feed Subscription
        (What's RSS?)

10 Most popular posts

Recent posts


Download Browsealoud