How to use an IVR… without driving customers crazy
The phrase ‘IVR’ stands for ‘interactive voice response’, and it describes the typical phone menus you get when you call almost any business. The IVR is a great invention; it helps to channel calls to the right people, and it should make your customers feel like they’ve got your attention when they ring.
Unfortunately, the humble IVR has become one of the most despised aspects of customer service, since so many IVRs are poorly designed. Instead of welcoming the customer and driving efficiency, they serve only to infuriate them more.
Poor IVRs: the tell tale signs
We’ve all been kept waiting through infuriating hold music and annoying messages, but what are the other signs of bad IVRs?
Unnecessary selection menus, making the customer progress through more options than they should
Confusing numerical selections
Long lists of selections that are difficult to remember
Long recorded messages
No option to speak to a real human being
Bad voice recognition software that simply doesn’t work
Being cut off
Why IVRs can be amazing
An IVR can give your customers answers very quickly. Many people prefer automated services to get information fast. But for small businesses, the personal touch is usually more important.
Here are our golden rules:
Keep it simple. If you don’t need 16 options, don’t use 16 options. It’s perfectly valid to have one option per department, but don’t add more for the sake of it
Never redirect someone to a dead end. Each caller should get through to a person (or, at a bare minimum, they should be able to leave a voicemail)
Be truthful. Are you really experiencing high call volumes? Cry wolf and they won’t call back later
As you put together your IVR menu, think about your customer’s needs ahead of your own. The customer probably wants to talk to a relevant person quickly. They don’t want to listen to your choice of music for 10 minutes while the call is routed around your entire department.
Make sure they don’t have to put in a great deal of effort, and make them feel as valued as a customer you’d meet face to face.
Best foot forward
Nimvelo’s virtual phone system harnesses the power of business VoIP to give you extra features. As well as a highly portable number, you also get to use advanced features like call forwarding, IVRs, voicemail and hunt groups, all without subscription or commitment.