The biggest advantage of Interactive Voice Responses for small and large organisations is to save time and money. Answering phone calls takes a lot of time, and not every phone call deserves the attention of a trained employee. IVR systems can take care of most of the frequently asked questions that an organisation receives and allow customer service reps, salesmen and technical support to concentrate on the harder stuff.
There are common aspects to Interactive Voice Responses that people hear all the time and are convinced that they are necessary in their systems even when they just don’t make sense.
Although these prompts were important at one time, they are certainly no longer needed.
Here is a list of ‘instructions’ that just don’t make sense.
“Please leave your name, number, and a brief message…”
Is anyone unclear about what sort of information we should leave on a voicemail system? Has anyone NOT known what to leave in a message? Perhaps, in a panic, someone recorded: “ …so, if you could get back to me about that, it would be great. My shoe size 8 and a half, my favourite Jello flavour is lime, and my address is 10 Main Street. Thanks!” I think we all know what data is preferred in this voicemail message context. And as for asking for a “Brief message”? that’s just a terrible invitation for people to ramble.
“To end this call, please hang up.”
Watch any child playing with a toy phone. What do children do when they’re finished talking? They hang up. Every time. They don’t need to be told. Neither do your callers.
“Our website is: WWW…”
We all know by now that all web domains start with “WWW”-correct? It’s become so automatic now that it’s effortless for most people to say, and it’s now taken for granted that if you’re talking about a website most will automatically begin with “WWW”. Unless your web address has a different login protocol, and your site begins with “WWW”, you’re safe in jut writing “Visit our website at angrysquirrel.com for a full listing of our prices and services.”
“We are experiencing a Higher-Than-Normal call volume.”
So, if I’d called ten minutes earlier, my call would have gone straight through to the CEO? I don’t believe it, especially when you encounter the message during off hours. Most times, when that phrase is recorded, it’s part of the company’s main IVR greeting and it’s not swapped in during the busy times and swapped out for a “Normal Call Volume” message. Yes, it’s a device to make the company “feel” bigger; to make callers feel grateful that they even got through to make the caller more tolerant off your time on hold. Drop this off your call script.
“Please listen carefully, as our options have recently changed…”
Chances are, if your callers have called in on a regular basis, they’re probably pretty safe in simply pressing the extension they’re accustomed to, even if there are minor tweaks to the voicemail (and those are usually due to staff changes; it’s unusual for entire departments to have their extensions completely re-assigned).