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How to Create a Customer-Friendly IVR System

Think back to all the times you’ve called a corporate toll free number looking for customer support.  Chances are, you were subjected to a long stream of dull and confusing prompts.  And by the time you were actually connected to an agent, you were probably frustrated and far less patient than you would have been if a human being had answered the phone.

Don’t get us wrong!  IVR/auto attendant is a crucial piece of the customer experience puzzle for many businesses and call centers.  But, the problem is that most companies just don’t know how to tailor their automated greetings and prompts to their customers’ needs.

In this quick and easy guide, we’ll share some of our best tips for creating a customer-friendly IVR system and routing your callers to the right agent as quickly as possible.

Be concise

No matter how helpful you think your pre-recorded IVR prompts may be, no caller really wants to sit through dozens of options (most of which probably aren’t relevant to his or her problem).

When you’re setting up your IVR system, take the time to plan out what your customers really need to know, and keep your messaging as concise as possible (without sacrificing clarity, of course).

Keep the language simple

You also need to be aware of language that you use on your IVR auto attendant.  Every caller should be able to understand the questions being asked and the information being presented.  If customers don’t understand the prompts, this will lead to confusion, and in all likelihood, a mis-routed call.

Have a friendly and informative greeting

When a customer calls your business or call center, their first impression will be the message they hear on your IVR system.  That’s why your greeting needs to not only be friendly and welcoming, but also informative.  That way, your customers know what they need to about your company before they go through the prompts.

But remember: and informative greeting doesn’t have to be lengthy.  Keep the initial greeting short and sweet!

Test the system

For your IVR system to be customer-friendly, it needs to be set up correctly.  If calls are being misrouted or are going unanswered, that’s a big setback for your customers.  Call your phone number and test it like you’re a customer to fully ensure it’s set up successfully.

We recommend performing a “blind” test of your IVR system as well; if you can, ask employees in other departments to call your customer support line and see what problems or challenges they encounter along the way.  You can use this feedback to optimize your IVR system and messaging.

Give callers a bypass option

Some callers may not have the time to go through all your IVR system’s prompts or may experience issues while going through the prompts.  Because of this, it’s a good idea to give your callers an option to bypass the system and get queued up to an agent.

It’s important that your IVR auto attendant is set up to be customer-friendly not only for your callers’ sake, but yours too! An effective IVR can increase productivity and customer satisfaction. Utilize the tips above to program your system successfully.

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