In a recent article by Allison Smith, the voice of the Asterisk Open Source PBX, she pointed out the importance that well-written IVR scripts can have on your caller’s experience and their impression of your company. She stresses that your IVR scripts need to be on point and that there are 5 simple ways to ensure that your voice prompts actually are helping your clients. Below is an example of a basic main menu IVR script sample that Smith uses to point out the 5 ways to create an effective IVR Script.
IVR Script Sample
Hello, and thank you for calling [Your Company Name]. If you know the extension of the person or party you wish to reach, please enter it now. For sales, press 1. For technical support, press 2. For billing and payment inquiries, press 3. For more information on our company, press 4.To speak with a live representative, press 0 at any time. To repeat this message, please press pound.
Tip 1: Greet your clients from the start
You’re opening line needs to friendly yet professional, a verbal handshake if you will, that greets your client while at the same time conveying a sense of confidence that reassures the client that they made the right choice in calling. Smith also points out that a “quick intro is a perfect way to lead into your company’s menu option, which will efficiently direct your callers to where they need to go.”
Tip 2: Keep it short and sweet
According to Smith, “The prompts in this IVR script sample are both direct and on message. Be concise. Remember, the time your caller spends navigating your menu is not just their time, but the time you could be more directly engaging them in a more meaningful way.” We all know how frustrating long IVR prompts can be and so “in order to keep your callers focused on the menu options you are offering, try and keep your prompts economical” states Smith, “The caller’s attention span is shorter than you think.”
Tip 3: Sometimes less is more
If you’re struggling to keep your script short, purely just because of the long list of departments within your companies (which might also makes it tricky for your clients to navigate), Smith suggests the following: “A good way to avoid losing your caller is to keep a menu that is easy to digest upon first listen. Try narrowing the initial list of department options down to a few general groups (my recommendation is five choices, initially) and expand from there.”
Tip 4: Departments first, extension second
Smith points out that a common mistake in many IVR scripts is the simple way each menu option is phrased: “It is much easier to first get your caller’s attention by first announcing the department they may wish to reach (“For sales….”) followed by the extension number (“….press 1”). This phrasing gives your clients time to process the options and make their decision, rather than the other way around (“Press 1 for sales”). It may seem like the minutest of details, but it is far more effective at directing your callers efficiently.”
Tip 5: When was the last time anyone ‘dialled’?
“Dialling” in the age of Smartphones and touchscreen cellular devices has become an antiquated term and according to Smith, “has no place in any modern IVR Script… The prompt message “press” is a far more representative instruction today. Again, many clients and other businesses will draw an initial impression from their first IVR experience with you. The last thing you will want is for your company to sound behind the times.”
Click here to listen to the voice prompts Smith has recorded for Asterisk & Switchvox solutions.
If you’ve listened to the public airwaves, used an automated phone system, participated in a phone survey, or even used a talking thermostat, you’re familiar with Allison Smith. One of the most prevalent telephone voices in the world today, Allison has voiced platforms for Vonage, Bell Canada, Cingular, Verizon, Qwest, Twitterfone, Hawaiian Telcom – as well as being the voice of the Asterisk Open Source PBX. Clients include Marriot Hotels, 3M, Pfizer, Toyota, Victoria’s Secret, Bank of America and EBay among many others. Her website is www.theivrvoice.com and www.theasteriskvoice.com.