If you have an IVR system, the impression it gives your callers is very important. It’s often your first line of customer service and the first area where poor planning can produce frustrated clients. Keep these best practices in mind to ensure your voice prompts are helping the caller experience.
- Limit your options. Sure, you have a lot of departments and extensions, but your callers don’t want to sit through a list of all of them. Instead of frontloading your IVR system with a long list, focus on three broad options at the beginning of your system. Use the submenu for more specific selections. Remember the rule of 3: Callers get frustrated after hearing more than 3 prompts and are annoyed if they have to navigate through more than 3 menu levels.
- Escape up front. The first options of your menu should be those that are most frequently requested. Your objective is to get the greatest number of callers to their requested destination in the fewest number of prompts.
- Less is more. Your script should be short and should lack small, redundant words. You don’t need to say “Please” and “thank you” all the time—once will do. Otherwise, the words will lose meaning and sound insincere.
- Pace and Clarity. It’s important to make sure IVR announcements and auto attendant greetings sound the best they can. Too often, these prompts are voiced by employees that lack voice training and recording skills. Instead, make sure your well-planned voice prompts are read by a professional, who can speak clearly, slowly, and in the tone and style you desire.
- Redirect for self help. If your website has FAQs or self-help options, make sure callers know where to log on. Redirecting them to the website for instructions and manuals can help reduce the number of calls your agents have to manage.
Remember to use your IVR system to help your customers, not to give them headaches. Endless menus and submenus will only frustrate valuable callers. Unclear, poorly recorded voices won’t help your case either. If you are using an auto attendant system, be sure to make it as clear and user friendly as possible. You callers will thank you.