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IVR Do’s & Don’ts for Better Customer Experiences

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Automatic phone menus or IVR’s have a bad reputation. Too often, they’re viewed as a way to keep callers out instead of as a tool for better customer experiences. That’s why we’ve populated a handy list of IVR Dos and Don’ts – so you can take full advantage of this often-overlooked technology.
Your IVR is full of opportunities to better engage callers and turn complaints into loyal customers. By following these rules, your organization will get all the benefits of improved customer experience – ROI, brand awareness, customer retention, and overall satisfaction with your company.

What’s an IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response – it’s that automated receptionist that tells you to “press 1 for sales, 2 for support or if you know the extension of the person you’re trying to reach, dial it now.”

IVR Dos:

  • Add humour where applicable. A little lightheartedness can go a long way to put them in a good mood while they wait. You might just save your support team from a stressful call!
  • Give callers an easy way to connect to an operator. Callers usually just want to speak to a human being – after all, they did pick up the phone instead of emailing. Make it easy for them to connect to your team so that customers know you care about them.
  • Take advantage of call labels. Call labels let your employees see which department or product the caller is inquiring about. This helps your staff answer calls and serve your customers more efficiently.
  • Use verb-based language to engage action. Phrase your options like “Press 1 to quickly and easily pay your bill” instead of “Press 1 for Billing.” This helps your customer feel like they’re in control of what happens – not at your mercy.
  • Track and test. Analyze your caller’s phone behaviour – use A/B tests for your menu options, and fine-tune your messaging with the results. Using real data will help you create highly relevant experiences for your customers.
  • Use your IVR to keep your clients informed. Add alerts as needed about anything that might affect your customers. Timely notices about things like website problems, service outages, important updates or FAQs can reassure customers that you’re on top of things.

IVR Don’ts:

  • … provide unnecessary phone menu options. Listening through endless directory options is frustrating – especially when you’re not finding what you need. Avoid this by keeping your menu simple and highly relevant.
  • …play bad hold music. Know your clients and tailor your music to your audience. If you’re an online streetwear clothing company, it’s probably not a good idea to play Bach! Hold music can be an opportunity to show your customer that you understand them.
  • …use jargon. It can be tricky for specialists to translate their industry lingo, however, straightforward language is always the best choice. Test your messaging by having someone who doesn’t know your business listen to it first.
  • …send them on an unnecessary call loop. Don’t waste their time – if your call centre is closed you should let callers know right away. Don’t make them cycle through menu options only to hit a dead-end.
  • …send your callers to voicemail. Your customers aren’t calling to speak with a machine. Fortunately, you can avoid the answering machine with the following options:
    • Hunt groups: Create a list of employees to ring for a specific call. The system will ‘hunt’ for the people in that group and go down the list until someone is available to answer.
    • Ring Groups: Ring multiple phones at the same time so that calls can be answered by whoever is available. This can be organized by department or any way that makes sense for your business.
    • Presence across multiple devices: Connect your office extension to a cell phone, softphone, desk phone and more so you can always be reached.

Ready to take your IVR to the next level?

Customer experience is a popular topic – for good reason. More and more, businesses that fail to make it a priority are finding themselves hammered by bad reviews and worse press. Your IVR is a rich source of opportunity to create experiences that build loyalty and goodwill in your target market. With a little strategy, you can do a lot.

At iTel, our specialty is building out streamlined phone, internet, and network solutions that save businesses time and money. iTel’s Cloud Phone Systems and Managed Voice services are so feature-rich, you’ll have your IVR doing things you didn’t even know possible. Contact our telecom experts and start building your custom solution today.

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