1. Map the Process Out
The first thing you need to do is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They want their problem to be solved as quickly as possible so your IVR menu mustn’t resemble a jungle where they can easily get lost. Map your script out to see what departments customers might want to speak with and how to make the routing quicker. The fewer options you have on the main menu, the better. Steve Hindley, the Creative Director at iNarratorOnHold, recommends:
“Don’t go off and write a nine-option IVR and hope that it does the job. Think about it and break it down into nice manageable chunks.”
However, putting customers first doesn’t mean that the “Connect with an agent” option should be right in the main menu: it can make your IVR useless because most of the customers will skip other options.
2. Adapt It to the Customer Journey
Your IVR menu shouldn’t be isolated from the customer journey. When designing it, think about the reasons that make your customer pick up the phone. You can install the stages of their journey as menu options.
Here’s how it is done in the AO contact center in Bolton, the UK. They provided six different routes depending on the stage of the customer journey:
- Pre-day of the delivery
- Day of the delivery
- Up to 30 days since delivery
- Over 30 days since delivery
How does it work? Let us give you an example of the second route. On the day before delivery, the company informs a customer about the time of arrival, then the customer can choose a different delivery time or be connected with the agent.
3. Always Provide Access to Live Agent
Although self-service is one of the main IVR functions it can’t satisfy all the customers. Some of their problems can’t be solved without the agent’s involvement. That’s why you should always provide access to live agents. Otherwise, your customers will be frustrated.
4. Add a Call-Back Option
Don’t make customers wait in the queue for ages. A call-back option is a good way to make your queue shorter and show them that your company values their time. As to the queue, you should also pay attention to your telephony provider’s settings if it disconnects the call when its duration exceeds some limit.
5. Use Plain Language That Corresponds With Your Brand
Make sure that your customers have no trouble understanding your voice prompts. Use plain and simple language in the IVR menu. Also, it has to correspond with your brand. Experts recommend using clients’ terminology and avoiding your industry jargon.
6. Pass Info Provided by Customer to Agent
The thing that customers can’t stand the most is repeating all the information to an agent. Modern cloud-based call center solutions allow you to avoid this waste of time. The agent can see all the client’s details after the call is connected (to what phone number they called, from what branch of the IVR they moved, etc). Voiptime Cloud call center software can identify your customer using information from CRM or external database and route them to a separate branch of the IVR, offering personalized service.
7. Continuously improve and change your script
Your business, your market conditions, and customers’ expectations are constantly changing. You should always keep your IVR up to date, removing outdated information (business hours, promotions, etc) and adding a new one. It is also useful to test it as a customer at least once a month. Doing so, you can better understand what to improve in the menu - for example, to remove or add some new options. And finally, listen to your customers. Send them the follow-up email or SMS, asking to assess their user experience.
A user-friendly and well-thought IVR script can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line. It shows your customers that their calls are really important for you and that you value their time by giving them useful information right on the menu. However, you should remember that your IVR menu can’t be adjusted once in a blue moon. It requires constant improvement and maintenance.
To learn more about the most common IVR mistakes, check out our article Things You Should Not Do With Your IVR and How to Prevent Them.