IVR's cause huge hole in sales funnels - Funnel Science

IVR’s cause huge hole in sales funnels

Why Your Company Needs to Ditch Your Phone System IVR

The way your company answers and greets customers in person and via the phone will have a very big impact on sales. The importance of your greeting cannot be underestimated.

IVR’s are one of the leading reasons you have sales funnel abandonment. They cause the customer to become annoyed, experience frustration, and want to leave your business!

What is an IVR?

It’s that stupid, annoying machine voice you hear every time you call a business. Customers HATE IT!

You will learn how much customers hate your phone voice response system when you start analyzing:

  1. Dropped calls
  2. Interval at which customers hang up/abandon
  3. Hang-ups by agent,
  4. Agent hold times
  5. IVR hold times
  6. Listening to call recordings
  7. Customer churn after bad call

After listening to tens of thousands of calls, I can conclude one simple truth: When a human picks up a phone and dials, they want and intend to speak with another human, not a machine. Equally so, no customer wants to talk with a stupid employee or 3rd party call center agent, either.

One customer service survey found that “90 percent of our respondents want to speak to a live agent.” (1) IVR’s by design do not allow your customer to speak with the live agent. Instead, they cause your customer to get frustrated, annoyed, and cause them to look for your competitors who do not force them to speak to a stupid machine.


Funnel Science found that roughly 50% of all phone calls that go to an IVR end in abandonment within 30 seconds. Customers that enter the IVR abandon before completing the desired outcome that caused them to call. IVR’s are one of the biggest holes in your company’s sales funnel!

Those stupid voice-activated systems you force upon customers will directly cause lower sales, a lower close ratio, a higher lead disqualification rate, more churn and fewer referrals. But, they will save you money on labor and free up your closers from getting tied up on the telephone money maker.

Penny Wise, A Pound Foolish

You save a few bucks by not staffing your phones with a live agent only to cost your company thousands of dollars in lost sales. The old British saying a penny wise but a pound foolish is probably the best way to describe companies that use IVR’s.

“When we asked respondents their opinions about IVRs being the most common entrée to customer service help,
the results were almost uniformly negative. Only 10 percent were satisfied with their experience
and approximately 35 percent of respondents found the systems difficult to use.” (2)

IBM Proclaims Cost Savings

IBM published on their blog how these chatbots help reduce costs by 30% (3) but failed to report on the impact in lost sales. This is very common with bean counters, operations managers, IT/telephony people who only deal with expense numbers and not sales numbers. They always proclaim the cost savings but always fail to measure the real impact on customer satisfaction, sales performance, or abandonment rate.

Yet marketing continues to sink advertising and promotion costs to drive phone leads to the number one whole in your sales funnel.

Ask the sales or marketing VP’s about the impact of forcing a valued customer or new customer to go through a chatbot to “deal with” your customer. Ask if they think the 30% labor savings on a CSR is worth the lost sales, lost up-sell opportunity, lower satisfaction, higher customer churn, lower close rate and fewer referrals.

8 Common Mistakes Companies Make with IVR’s

  1. Using an IVR instead of a live agent
  2. Too long of a recorded message that doesn’t allow the user to get where they need to go in under 30 seconds
  3. Stupid or annoying recording or script
  4. Playing the same stupid message over and over while on hold
  5. Routing your customer to the wrong person or wrong location/Or routing a caller to an agent in a different country
  6. Routing your best, most valuable customers to the newest hire or least trained employee
  7. Forcing the customer to listen to the IVR instead of an option to bypass straight to an agent
  8. Asking the same questions over and over. Making the customer repeat themselves repetitively is a really good way to treat them.

Maybe pissing off your customers and putting barriers on your sales team is worth the cost savings. But do you ever wonder why companies fail? Especially the big companies that have been around for a long time who specialize in layoffs and cost cutting just to save some money on one of the key tools a company uses to make sales, but to sacrifice revenue and customer service. Do you really have to wonder?



1, 2 – https://theconversation.com/customer-service-on-hold-we-hate-phone-menus-and-dont-trust-virtual-assistants-like-siri-51017
3 -https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/10/how-chatbots-reduce-customer-service-costs-by-30-percent/

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