How to Design a Successful IVR System (and Stop Annoying Customers)

February 13, 2017 mellis

How to Design a Successful IVR System (and Stop Annoying Customers)
Kevin McMahon
Monday, February 13, 2017 - 12:15 IVR Design

If you’ve ever called a contact center, chances are you’ve experienced an Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system, which is an automated telephony system that gathers your details and lets you choose a variety of options so that it can route your call to the appropriate agent.

Often IVR systems are one of the most frustrating things that consumers have to deal with. A poorly designed IVR system can easily become a puzzling maze of options and branching pathways. The user may find themselves confused about which option to select, and could end up being routed to the wrong department, put on hold, and transferred time and again.

A well-designed IVR system, however, can save time for callers and businesses by making sure that the customer gets directed to the right department so their call is handled correctly and efficiently, first time, every time.

5 Tips for Building a Better IVR System

Designing an IVR system requires a significant amount of planning. You need to stop thinking like a business and start thinking from the perspective of the customer. Why are they calling? What are they trying to accomplish? The following tips will help you create an IVR system which routes customers intelligently and makes their experience with your business more satisfying.

1. Look at the data

Start by looking at your existing call records. If more than half your callers are looking to make a bill payment, then that should be one of the first options in the system.

2. Keep it simple

The IVR system should have no more than five options at the top level of the menu. If you need more options, separate the menu into sections, so that users can quickly drill down to the right department.

3. Choose your words wisely

Word the menu carefully, saying “to make a payment, press 1” rather than “press 1 to make a payment.” This helps to reduce dependency on short-term memory.

4. Take a breath

Leave a pause of a couple of seconds between menu options, so that people have time to press the button and bring the phone back to their ear. This is especially important if you expect people to be navigating through longer, more complex menus. 

5. Don’t bury the lead

Make it easy for people to reach a customer service advisor if they really do not want to go through the IVR. Some callers aren’t sure what they need, or don’t have their account details to hand, so an IVR may not be able to help them.

Need Help Setting Up an IVR Solution?

At West, we offer IVR solutions for small and large organizations. Our cloud contact center solution is flexible, scalable, and cost effective. If you’re not sure where to start or how to set up an IVR system internally, then outsourcing to a cloud contact center could well be the best option. From the customer’s perspective, our IVR solutions are easy to use. From the perspective of the contact center, they offer dynamic call routing and the option to bump designated callers to the front of the queue.  They even allow contact centers to divert customers to specific departments if they have an urgent outstanding issue, such as unpaid bills or long-running complaints. Routing can be based on available agents, department load, or other criteria to ensure minimum wait times and that the maximum number of callers have their issues resolved during the first contact with an agent.

To learn more, reach out to one of our friendly contact center experts using the form at the right. And be sure to check out our whitepaper, the 10 New Rules of the Inbound Contact Center.

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