61% of Your Customers May Hate Your IVR

IVR Statistics

The concept of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) was first introduced in 1962. And since that time, it has evolved with new innovations. But new research from Vonage reveals 61% of consumers think IVRs make for a poor experience.

This poor experience is responsible for more than half (51%) of consumers abandoning a business because of an IVR system. And this has resulted in companies losing $262 per customer every year.

For small businesses with IVR systems, the research offers some valuable insights into the use case of the technology in the age of personalized services. And as customer experience/service increasingly becomes one area in which a company can compete, having the right system in place is absolutely essential.

In the emailed press release and report, Ken McMahon, Senior Vice President, Customer Success, Vonage, explained this very point. According to McMahon, “Customer experience is the one area companies can differentiate and compete in an increasingly commoditized world.”

IVR Statistics

The title of the Vonage report is, “Investigating The Horror Of IVR: Is Yours An Experience-Crushing Monster?

To find this out Vonage surveyed 2010 adults in the U.S. 16 to 55+ years old. The way Vonage puts it in the report, it is “… to uncover the full extent of the horror customers face when they call a business and reach an automated menu of options, known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR).”

Issues with IVRs

The research says 61% of consumers feel IVR poisons the customer experience, this according to Vonage. Only 13% say it makes for a good experience, while 21% say it has no impact on the experience.

IVR Statistics

image: Vonage
So, what makes the experience so horrific? Almost two thirds or 63% say it is because they are forced to listen to irrelevant options. Others (54%) complained it stops them from getting through to a live person, the menus are too long (46%), and 45% say they often have to repeat themselves.

This leaves consumers with different emotions, and topping the list is frustration at 47%. Anger (6%) and stress (7%) are followed by feeling no particular emotion at 17%, and some even saying they are hopeful at 8%.

Things get much better though when callers reach a customer service agent. Callers say they feel more relieved (27%), less frustrated (26%), more hopeful (25%), and less angry (24%).


If there is one-word businesses don’t want to hear, it is “Abandonment.” And in the case of IVRs, 85% of the respondents say they have abandoned at least one call to a business using the system.

On average consumers say they have abandoned 27% of calls they make to a business because they reached an IVR. This is more than one in four callers.

Having a call center is not an option for the majority of small businesses. One way you can overcome these issues is by answering calls directly during business hours. When the business is closed, you can continue to answer the calls on your mobile device or use chatbots.

The good news is there now many more options available for small businesses without having to break the bank.

Image: Depositphotos.com

Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.