I always had apprehension about using any IVR system as I always find it boring, complex, and tedious. I always failed to understand why in today's world where everything is available on click of a mouse button we would need to pick up the phone and call a number to hear recorded digital voice to gather information. One foggy morning and a late running train changed this perspective for me. It made me realise that IVRs are not really that bad, if presented visually. A foggy morning, a late running train and an Android app called Breeze made me realize that.
It started in an early winter morning where I had to board a train at some place in India. I was already in the station waiting for the train and there was no news of its arrival. A long queue of impatient passengers in front of the enquiry counter was getting longer every minute. There was no public announcement, or even it was there I didn't really get the message. So there I was. Stranded, loaded with extra luggage that compromises my mobility, without any announcement of the train's arrival, and a increasing amount of chill which was getting unbearable with every passing moment.
File photo. Courtesy: Dreamstime.com
There was another young couple waiting for the same train and the husband was getting impatient as well. He was trying his mobile data, which was not working. So he didn't really have a way to find out how late was the train. Anyone in similar situation and a working mobile data connection can checkout this website. They give pretty accurate status details for any train under Indian railway. As he didn't have working data connection he was getting impatient every moment.
I saw him calling 139 (Indian railway IVR line) and every time it asked for the train number, he had to hold the phone in one hand, (murmur some curse words), look for his train number in his ticket, and enter it there. It was the icing on the cake, just increasing his irritation every time.
It was the time I offered him to use Breeze. It is an app that shows the IVR menu of more than 100 customer care services in India in visual way. He entered the train number once in Breeze and it remembered the number, so for every consequent usage he had to just press a button to get the information. I could see his anxiety level going down as soon as he got the information without any hassle. The next good thing was the train was running only half an hour late, so we all knew this wait will be over soon. He gave me a big thank you, offered me some piping hot coffee and also took the details of the app and promised to install it in both of their phones as soon as they have an active data connection.
It was nice to see the app we built helped people in such a time when they were feeling low and helpless. Being part of the app development it was particularly a proud moment for me. But at the same time it painted a different perspective of the so cursed IVR system. The system is very useful when presented visually, but the same system becomes unmanageable and unusable when we have to act based on what we listen.
Imagine someone guiding you to some place after blindfolding you. You feel irritated, but as soon as the blindfold is lifted, the world is beautiful again. In Breeze, we lifted the blindfold so that you can use the IVR to their fullest of capacities. You actually see the IVR menu visually, take all decisions before the call is made. It not only gives you more than 60% more efficiency while using IVR, it gives you a kind of mental satisfaction and helps you to keep your calm and get your information as fast as possible from IVR. We know you have a lot of things to take care of everyday, getting lost in IVR menu should not be one of them. Feel the freedom while using Breeze, the visual IVR for the next generation.