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Press 1 to Bypass Annoying IVR Menus

One retired IT manager has slightly liberated UK consumers by mapping out thousands of companies’ interactive voice response phone service systems.

Absolutely brilliant. That’s how I’ve come to think of Nigel Clarke, a retired IT manager, who has mapped out thousands of customer-service IVR (interactive voice recognition) systems for the rest of us here in the UK.

You know, IVRs pick up automatically when you call almost any large company or utility. They command you to press one for one thing, two for something else, and by the time you get to nine, you have to go back and listen to it again because you’ve forgotten the options.

Mobile technologies and the Internet have provided common people with a new personal freedom and power. Regular people are using social media to regularly scoop traditional news outlets. SMS is behind a host of simple services that connect people to business and each other. And we are starting to see new industries realising the power that mobile has to make customer engagement a better experience for all.

Take utility companies who are using mobile to not only directly communicate with consumers when there are problems such as power outages but also using mobile apps which enable customers to self-service for common questions and tasks. All removing the need to contact the call centre.

Yet, the IVR system is one clunky, last-century technology that still holds us hostage. Nigel Clarke’s website Pleasepress1.com has shown the light of freedom on the dark recesses of the labyrinthine sub-basement world of IVRs, helping us all “press ahead” to save time and at least feel like we’re a little more in control.