On Hold For Seven Years

A self-confessed ‘call centre menu enthusiast’ has quit his job as an IT Manager to launch a one-man crusade against automated customer phone systems. Nigel Clarke has devoted seven years to researching, calling and cataloguing the intricate phone menus of several hundred companies – from BT to Virgin Holidays. The results of this research are revealed today on his website pleasepress1.com. One trial user of the service described the codes as “the biggest breakthrough this side of the Enigma machine.”

Nigel has made more than 12,000 documented calls to call centres, gathering vital data to save millions from undue time wastage and stress. House movers, insurance claimants, mobile phone users and many more will save hours thanks to Nigel’s work which will enable them to skip past the annoying automated voice menus. In his work Nigel also found that two thirds of call centres (68%) use introductions or additional advertising between options.
According to Nigel, the worst call centres have more than 80 options in their phone menus with up to 7 levels of menu. “Some might say this is the modern equivalent of Dante’s circles of hell.” said Nigel. An example is HMRC, where it can take up to 6 minutes just to get through their phone menus before a long wait in the queue at the consumer’s expense. As one of the UK’s busiest call centres, they receive 79 million calls per year, or a potential 4.3 million working hours just navigating menus. Nigel believes that with better menu design, at least 3 million caller hours could be saved here alone.

The cost of waiting is enormous. This combined ‘navigation time’ across all companies could be costing UK consumers an incredible £100million in phone charges every year.

By using the simple telephone key codes that Nigel is publishing today, typically, consumers will be able to shave several minutes off their call times to contact centres.

Nigel believes his campaign has the potential to save almost 1 billion* minutes of call time per year by shortening soul-destroying codes.
Nigel, who has launched a local Call Centre Menu Enthusiasts Group, said: “Everyone knows that calling your insurance or gas company is a pain but for most, it’s not an everyday problem. However, the cumulative effect of these calls is really quite devastating when you’re moving house or having an issue. I’ve been working in IT for over 30 years and nothing gets me riled up like having my time wasted through inefficient design. This is why I’ve devoted the best part of seven years to solving this issue.”
Steve Bryant, who recently moved house said: “During the move, I would guess that I’ve spent around six hours on the phone. From updating my details to cancelling a direct debit, every job involving a call centre would fill me with dread. Even when I knew exactly what I wanted, the options would leave me confused or at the mercy of yet another transfer.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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