A fair--though not all--of the hoops you're forced to jump through are for your own benefit. For example:
Another annoying thing is requiring you to push a number for multiple menus. Sure I can understand the first menu where you press 1 for billing, 2 for tech support, etc. But when they break it down to 3 and 4 menu's it gets pretty annoying. When you get to the end of the menu and finally get a human being chances are you are going to get the same person regardless if on submenu 3 you pressed 1 for this problem or 2 for that problem.
As for what you probably most care about, having those menus gets you through faster. Even if it is the same person, that individual knowing the exact nature of your request and already being in the menu to take care of it is a lot better than keeping you on hold longer while she is asking a person about the nature of his problem.
This is bullsh*t though. 9 times out of 10, regardless of what info you provide up front (either through menu navigation or verbal input), the rep on the other side will ask you to repeat it all. Most IVR systems simply provide generic team-based call routing. All that other crap they ask you to put in is useless unless they have an integrated management app that displays that input on the computer when the rep answers the call (something I've personally been involved in, but it's hella expensive to do).
Correct. Which is why most places don't have anything that fancy. The questions being asked serve the purpose of routing you to the correct group of people to address the issue you're calling about. It's not perfect, but it really is better than just calling to one big pool of tier 1 people and then having them try to figure out how to help you, fail miserably, then try to figure out who to send you to, resulting in you being on hold eternally and in some cases ending out in a circle.
To be fair, sometimes the automated menus will do that too, but at least they are efficient about it. And sometimes, one of the menu items exactly matches the reason you're calling and you just press a couple buttons, phone rings and go right to someone who can help you. That doesn't happen often, but every once in awhile it does.
To me, the more irritating part is that since I'm one of those people who generally attempts to solve any problems I run into my self and only call for help as a last resort it's incredibly rare that the menu options actually apply to me. I don't call to make a payment, or to inquire about the balance of my account, or the status of whatever. Those are things I can generally accomplish without having to call the business. If I'm calling you, its because of some other problem that doesn't fit into the standard set of menu options. I suppose what boggles my mind is the fact that those menu options were derived based on the most common set of things people call those businesses for. Yeah. That's scary all by itself.