Last nights “Richard Wilson On Hold” program on automated systems.
We have written before on automated systems, our view is a very straight forward one. If they are simple (as is the case with Auto attendants) they can work very well.
We do not however advocate their use to replace every possible human activity. We would suggest in an office with say 100-200 staff a system whereby you “say the persons name you want to talk to” can work well. IVR or interactive voice response work on algorithms of speech recognition – and are improving all the time.
The example of cinemas is the other extreme, where the voice algorithms are more complex (nationwide accents, odd film titles), and are not effective, where a more old fashioned auto attendant, press 1 for Tintin or 2 for Silent Movie would be more effective – We have used this for theatre bookings systems which is very effective as calls can be processed 24-7 when the box office is not even manned. Some times the use of technology can be over engineered, for technologies sake.
We are no expert on Automatic tills (!) but as we are based in the City next to Liverpool Street, the very busy Tesco and Boots always had very long 20 minute queues before the rows of automated tills were installed, if people want to buy alcohol and weighed items they should join the queue for the manned tills – there is still a choice.