Design an IVR Experience That Drives Happiness

    When it comes to contacting a business for the first time, a recent study from Software Advice, a company that compares IVR systems, found that almost half (48%) of U.S. consumers still prefer a phone call. The same study also underscored that, when it comes to a business’ use of an auto attendant, you need to get it right. Over 40% of survey respondents said they would take their business elsewhere after a frustrating auto attendant experience.

    An auto attendant, also referred to as an IVR (Interactive Voice Response), is a business phone offering that enables callers to select directory extensions using a voice menu. These software applications, which route incoming callers to the proper extension, group or department, often serve as the primary customer-facing element for many small to mid-sized business (SMB) phone systems.

    As noted in a recent Software Advice post, “When designed properly, auto attendants help manage incoming calls and add a professional touch to phone interactions—but when poorly designed, they can be a significant annoyance for customers.”

    The report points out that many SMBs are using auto attendants for cost savings to replace receptionists during normal business hours—a trend that is especially common in the property management, retail, banking and health care industries. Organizations also use auto attendants to minimize or relieve their need to answer calls.

    Best Practices

    Survey findings indicated that the top pain points reported were long introductory messages and too many options to pick from, indicating that businesses should strive for brevity and simplicity in greeting and menu design. It’s suggested that a business keep introductions to less than three seconds and limit menus to five options or less. In addition, with regard to types of menu options, it’s recommended to include options for departments rather than employees. More survey findings and recommendations can be found here.

    For many organizations, an IVR serves as the gateway to their business. Is this first touch point to your business giving callers what they need in the most efficient way possible? Download our IVR Evaluation Worksheet to take a fresh look at your current technology and identify what you can do to improve upon the experiences of those calling into your company.


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