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Press “1” if you know why you’re calling or “2” if you don’t

IVR Pain …

As a business person I’m always making calls for unknown reasons? No seriously, I know why I’m calling and want help. Designing an IVR structure is not rocket science but there is an art to it.

Good leads to a good customer experience we all know what bad means.

Getting your IVR design right is not just important, it is mandatory when you’re striving for great customer experiences. I’m writing this article because I’ve just had the worst experience. So what happened:

  • The IVR welcomed me and asked me to select from 4 quite complicated options
  • Bugger none of them really matched my query – so working in the industry I thought option 3 was the closet, so I pressed option 3
  • More options but I quickly realised I’d pressed the wrong option. I need to go back to the first level – sorry that’s not an option, so I hung up and redialed.
  • Option 2 this time and it seemed I was on the right path I then selected option 4.
  • Another list of options and I knew I’d made the right choice but none of them worked. Am I liking the experience so far?
  • I pressed 0 noting the timer on my phone said 2:07.
  • The agent that answered was helpful and transferred me to a queue to be handled by the appropriate agent
  • When I spoke with the right agent they were helpful and attended to my needs.
  • Out of interest I asked the agent what IVR options should I have selected. They weren’t sure.

Gotta love IVRs. If I look back on the experience I’d rate it less than 5. I’d give the IVR a ‘1’ and the agent a ‘9’. How easy would it have been for the experience to be an ‘9’ or ’10’. Simply if the IVR was good, clean, sharp and obvious it wouldn’t have even factored in may assessment.

Done well IVRs really work and can radically improve the customers experience

  1. Who should design your IVR structure
    Only people who are experienced in taking calls. Everyone is a Contact Centre can contribute but the prevailing voice has got to that of those who are answering the calls.
  2. Simple is the most effective
    If you use more than 7 words describing an option then rephrase and use fewer. If that’s not possible consider splitting the option into 2 options/levels
  3. There’s one one reason you have an IVR – to route calls to Subject Matter Experts
    Get the structure wrong and you’ll find too many people looking for the “speak to an agent” option or worse ringing the competition. When the “speak to an agent” option is selected you’re destroying the structure of you Contact Centre – in most businesses it”s almost impossible to have experts that can address all of the customers queries they’re simply too expensive and skilled to have answering.
  4. Consider including an option to “go back”
    Doesn’t matter how good your design is there will always be time when customers make an incorrect choice. The option to go back will increase your chances of getting their call to the SME and reduce their frustration.
  5. Get staff to test the IVR before you take it live
    I like to use the whole Contact Centre in the testing. You have three groups; the designers, the authors and the testers. Get the authors to write down a list of the most frequently asked questions (or reasons for calling). Get the testers a random list of questions and ask them to navigate through the IVR – they’ll soon tell you what’s not so good.

I’ve kept this fairly simple but there is a science to getting it right. If you need help with your IVR, Contact Us we have a proven methodology that will get it right.

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