About Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke is an Associate Information Security Engineer with Angel’s Operations group. With a strong background in PCI, HIPAA, and SOX compliance, as well as the coveted GSEC certification, she was involved in various information security roles before joining Angel. As part of the Operations team, she brings these skills to bear in supporting Angel’s compliance status, performs audits, breaks stuff, fixes stuff, flips bits, and answering the Tea or No Tea question. She likes security of all sorts, the wrongness that is the internet, and her dog. Sarah’s degree is from the School of Life, and includes periods of study at AOL, Freddie Mac, and CSC.

Breaking OUT! How to Get Out of a Bad IVR (and Build a Better One)

One of the main goals behind IVR has always been containment – that is, allowing the caller to automatically accomplish tasks without involving an agent. The reason behind that is largely cost – a call handled by an agent can be $13+, and a call handled by the IVR is a fraction of this, typically a few nickles. There are, additionally, some problems that are handled better by automation, which is the nicer word for containment. The problem is that sometimes the IVR just doesn’t take you where you want to go, or tries to engage you into ‘troubleshooting’ steps that don’t apply to your situation. Verizon, I’m talking to you.

How to Break Out of an IVR System

There are a few things to know if you’re not a fan of talking to the IVR.  Here’s some steps to follow in the trial and error process to break out.

First, the site www.gethuman.com can give you a list of instructions for how to get to a person for the most common numbers. Gethuman has released an iPhone application for IVR calls on the go. The app will dial the company for you and screenpop directions on how to get to a person.

Second, unfortunately, not every company is listed on GetHuman, or the company may be listed on GetHuman, but the IVR number you’re calling is not.   So we have to understand a little bit about how an IVR works. IVRs are essentially software applications that you interact with via voice or touchtone. There is a defined ‘path’ for you to follow as you progress through the IVR tree.  At every prompt, there are multiple responses defined that could be considered acceptable and take you to the next stage in the tree. Click here to read more »