How To Avoid Common IVR System Mistakes


photo credit: » Zitona « via photopin cc

Many customers dislike being greeted by an interactive voice response system when they try and contact a business with a query. This is usually because they have had a bad experience with IVR system in the past. Far too many businesses use IVR systems for their own benefit, rather than focusing on the needs of their customers. The fact is that IVR systems can provide customers with excellent customer service, providing you do not make the common mistakes which we will go onto mention in this article.

Poor phrasing

All too often businesses use IVR systems with poorly constructed caller menus. Many customers get frustrated having to figure out which department they need to be put through to, though this can sometimes be quicker than being left on hold by a receptionist. Make the process easier for your customer by phrasing your recordings properly, for example ‘for sales, press one’ rather than ‘press one for sales.’ There are too many businesses which say the number before the department name, causing their customers to have to waste more time listening to the message all over again.

Too many menu options

Customers calling a business expect their query to be dealt with quickly and professionally, so they are not going to be too happy if they have to sit and listen to a ten minute long pre-recorded menu. Having too many menu options will result in one of two outcomes. Your customer will either put the phone down in frustration, or bypass your IVR system all together in order to reach an advisor.

In order to improve your IVR system, keep your caller menu simple with as few options as possible. It is also important to think about the most popular reasons why customers call you. The departments that deal with the most popular caller queries should be prioritised in your caller menu in order to save time.

Speaking too quickly

Speak too quickly and your customers will struggle to keep up with the information you are giving them. Speak to slowly and they will simply lose interest. It is all about getting the balance just right. If you are recording your IVR messages yourself then practice your script over and over again until it feels natural to say. Alternatively you can hire a professional voice over artist.

Confusing instructions

Your customers do not want to hear your life story and they probably are not too bothered about hearing about your company’s latest offers, despite many businesses using their IVR systems as marketing tools. Instead of talking your customers’ ears off, provide them with clear and concise instructions that will make it easier for them to access the information they need as quickly as possible. Always give them the option to speak to an advisor as it is comforting to know that someone can put them through to the right department if they are unable to work it out themselves.

Always give your customers the option to speak to an advisor if they are unable to navigate your IVR menu


Providing you avoid these common mistakes, using an interactive voice response system can actually benefit both your business and your customers in many ways. Business owners often find that incorporating IVR technology into their communication systems saves them time and money. It prevents them from having to answer all of their customers’ calls themselves and removes the need to hire full time receptionists.

Customers can also benefit from a business’s IVR system as they can access the information they need much more quickly than if they were left to wait on hold so they could speak to an advisor. Unlike receptionists, IVR systems work twenty four seven, enabling your customers to contact your business at a time that is most convenient to them.

About the Author: By Megan Hunt, who suggests visiting for an IVR system solution.

License: Creative Commons image source


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