A lot of small businesses these days are switching to IVR, as the need for interactive voice response has become more apparent and the service is now more affordable. IVRs are essentially recorded voice menu systems that greet callers in lieu of a real person. It’s an automated receptionist that routes a caller to the right department or person in the organisation.
But there are many businesses that are not using IVR correctly. Their IVR systems may irritate and frustrate callers, leaving them unsatisfied and holding a negative view of the brand. To correct these problems, here are some tips that can help.
- Keep it short. This is one of the main rules of IVR. You need to present your callers with more than 5 options, as they simply won’t remember all of these. So if you have 6 options start with 2 categories of options first and then present the next 3 choices. But you should also limit the IVR to just 3 menus all in all. Even the recorded messages themselves should be short. They shouldn’t go on more than a minute.
- Connect the caller to a real person. After all is said and done, the IVR must guide the caller to the right person to talk to. Don’t let people through this tedious procedure only to lead them to a voicemail box. If people call after business hours, they should be sent to the voicemail of the best person who can help them ASAP.
- Make sure the recorded messages are clear, ideally recorded in a proper studio by professional IVR voice over artist. This means the speaker should articulate the words clearly and speak at a proper speed. Nothing’s more annoying for callers than wondering what the voice said moments before. Make sure they’re recorded at the right volume as well
- Get the most popular options as your first choices. At first, you may start offering what you think will be the most popular options for which callers will “press 1”. But you should also monitor the popularity of each option. Many new phone systems can track and report on such analytics in great detail. If more people are actually waiting to hear option #3, then you need to correct the menu and have that option as the first choice.
- Offer “on hold” options. Lots of people really dislike being put on hold, and they can become truly irate if you make them hear music they find annoying. So give them a choice as to whether they receive music or education telephone on hold messages when they’re put on hold.
- Provide a call back option. Being put on hold annoys many that some customers will hang up instead. To make sure you can still communicate with these callers, you may want to offer them the option of leaving their number instead. One of your employees can then call them back at the earliest opportunity.
IVRs are supposed to help both your business and your callers. The trick is to minimise the frustration that people tend to feel when they don’t get a real person to talk to on the other line, right away. Be able to create that better caller experience, and your IVR will do wonders for your business.