The Best Way To Design an IVR Menu For Your Office


Best Ways To Design Your Office IVR Menu

There are different ways to design an IVR menu for your office. Here we will discuss the best way to design an IVR menu for your office. The IVR menu is the automated voice system you hear when you call a business. Typically this voice response system will have menu options such as press 1 for support and press 2 for sales. IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. The Interactive Voice Response system can respond to voice commands or keypad prompts.

The main reason companies use an IVR menu is to process incoming calls more efficiently. The IVR menu can direct callers to operators, different departments, and employee extensions. It’s important for the IVR menu to have a good design; otherwise it could lead to a lot of frustration for customers.

With a good design for an IVR menu, your customers will have a better user experience. Keep your main objectives in mind when designing your IVR menu. The primary reason for an IVR menu is to help customers with tasks, and direct calls to the appropriate person. Each type of business will have different needs. So depending on your business, the menu options you provide will be different from other businesses.

An Example Of Decent IVR

For example, if you would like a more self-service type of system, you would set your menu options to match your system. You could let customers update their account information, change passwords, and make payments through your IVR menu.

If you would like to get customers directed to live agents as quickly as possible, you would set your menu options to match that. You can have menu options for each department and also let customers dial extensions, and search by employee name. With the right design, your IVR menu will help customers get a better user experience. So it’s important to get clear on your objectives so that you can focus on designing the right IVR menu.

Different Options to Include For Your IVR Menu

The options you include on your IVR menu will depend on your objectives. Get a detailed report on the most frequent reasons people call your business. Then you can set up options in your IVR menu that addresses the most frequent issues people have when they call. It’s also important to keep in mind to not have too many options. When customers have too many options, it becomes more confusing than helpful. There would be no point in having IVR menu options if they are not helpful to the caller.

A standard that is used by most companies is to have a maximum of 5 menu options with three submenu options at most. This is not used in every case, but it should be used as a general guideline when creating your menu options.

Tips For Best Practices When Designing an IVR Menu

1. Put option before action – One issue that frustrates callers is when they have to sit through and listen to the menu options multiple times because they forget or miss which option they need to choose. The best practice is to put the option first and then the required action second. For example, in the menu options, customers might hear “For customer support, press 2”. Putting the option before the action helps customers remember which action to take.

2. Keep options short and simple – Since there is no visual menu, callers have to listen to options one at a time. To keep the caller’s attention and to get them to choose the right option, the prompts should be short and easy to remember. The best practice is to have five menu options maximum. Less is better with menu options. Be sure to keep the prompts concise. The menu options do not need to be set with overly long sentences.

3. Give ways for your customer to communicate – A lot of IVR menu options are designed to receive voice commands. Sometimes the voice commands are hard to understand so let customers switch to text commands. That way the customer can press numbers to get to the right option if they are having trouble using voice commands. Also, put an option for customers to speak to a live agent. For instance, you can put “Press 0 to speak to a live agent”. This helps customers who are not able to resolve their issues with the IVR menu options.

4. Keep introductions brief – Most IVR menus are set up to include an introductory message to inform customers about the business. Keep the introduction brief to ensure customers stayed alert and engaged on the phone.

5. Make your IVR sound natural – The voice artist you use for your IVR menu should speak conversationally. People respond better when it sounds like they are getting prompts from a real person rather than something that sounds robotic.

6. Log and transfer customer information – Most of us have experienced frustration when it comes to using customer support over the phone. We provide our information through the system; then when we are talking to a live agent, they ask us to repeat the information we just gave. Eliminate the need for customers having to repeat their issues. When customers provide information through the IVR menu, make sure that information is logged and transferred to the agent. Doing this would eliminate a lot of frustration and gives customers better user experience.

7. Continue to monitor and improve your IVR menu – Do not just leave your IVR menu to run itself. Use analytics and call reports to monitor and improve your IVR menu. Look for any options that might confuse customers and ways you can improve your menu. Review your system regularly and make tweaks and adjustments as needed.

8. Provide callback options – If your business handles a large volume of support calls, then it would be good to have callback If the customer is expected to be on hold for long periods, you can give them an option for the system to automatically call them back when it is their turn. That way customers don’t have to be on hold for over an hour and become angry over the long wait time.

9. Respect customers time – When designing your IVR menu, remember the important part is to handle incoming calls as efficiently and quickly as possible. Customers want their issues resolved fast. These means don’t add unnecessary messages and options. Be sure to track and log customer information. Allow customers to skip menu options if they need to speak to a live agent right away.

10. Add ways to personalize the experience – A good design practice for IVR menus is to set up ways to retrieve customer information. This could be done through automatically recognizing customers phone numbers or giving customers an option to input their account phone number. This could help in tracking customer information over some time and using that information to deliver a more personalized user experience.

Focus On Customers’ Needs First

When designing your IVR menu, focus on your customers’ needs first. One of the ways to ensure you are meeting your customers’ needs is to let them have access to a live agent. A good rule to follow is to give customers an option to speak to a live agent by the third menu.

The ease of access in connecting with a live agent will depend on the type of business you have. Some businesses need a more personal approach where the customers will speak directly to agents on the phone. Other businesses might be able to handle a majority of the support needs through the IVR menu system. For those businesses, they might provide the option to speak to an agent further down the line.

Offer a Dial Pad Response

Many IVR systems rely heavily on dial pad responses as the method of input. A lot of customers like to use the dial pad because speech recognition is known to be bug-prone. There have been many advancements in speech recognition features. Such applications can help with basic speech recognition tasks. It is still good to offer dial pad as an option as it can be more convenient at times.

  • Avoid hanging up on customers – Some IVR systems will hang up on the callers if they do not choose the right menu option. That means they do not let the callers connect to live agents and simply hang up on them. This is a frustrating experience and customers may take their business elsewhere.

It would be far better to route customers to agents so that they can have a better user experience. This would lead to better customer relationships over time. Your customers will appreciate the good customer service.

Closing Notes: The best way to design an IVR menu

Start with the caller in mind. Think about why a customer would want to call your business. Design your IVR menu to accomplish what your customer wants.

The design would be different if you simply wanted to route your calls versus providing self-service applications. Different demographics have a different level of needs. The younger demographic tends to lean towards self-service applications. The older demographic tends to lean towards human interaction to resolve their issues.

As society progresses and technology advances, self-service applications will become increasingly popular. Advanced IVR menus that provide a high level of self-service options will be able to meet more of their customers’ demands. Customers will appreciate a faster and more efficient service system.

Keep in mind how quickly technology advances when designing your IVR menu. There may be new features ten years from now that could drastically improve your IVR menu. That is why it’s important to keep testing and experimenting with your IVR menu. Try new things and test different options. Continue to make improvements over time.