White traditional office telephone

IVR Hints and Tips

The aim of an IVR system is to enable users to help themselves without human involvement and to route customer to the right call agent, who can satisfy their needs, on their first attempt. An IVR system can have great benefits such as increasing customer satisfaction and the efficiency of the contact centre.

However, IVR systems have a reputation of causing high customer frustration. It is no secret that many customers do not like using an IVR system. We have all experienced being on hold for 20 minutes, listening to repetitive music, with no idea how long you will be on the phone for. Therefore, it is important to make your IVR quick and easy for people to get help.

SDS have collated some top do’s and don’ts for a successful, user-friendly IVR design:

• DO signpost to the website – use campaign URLs to inform the user of where to continue their journey on the website (see how to improve your link strategy with campaign URLs). Ensure you repeat the web address and read it out in a slow pace so that users have the opportunity to record the URL.

• DO offer an exit option – allow users to navigate the IVR menu easily, for example, ‘hold for an operator’, ‘to hear the options again’, ‘to return to the main menu’.

• DO order by demand – to effectively route callers to the most appropriate call handler on the first attempt and to reduce the time it takes to navigate the IVR, put the most frequently used service at the beginning of the IVR script.

• DO offer menu number after detail – to ensure effective routing, give the dial number at the end of the menu options. This way, callers can easily navigate the IVR menu.

• DON’T have lots of IVR menu options – 46% of people think there are too many options to remember. It is good practice to have a maximum of 5 menu options across 3 levels.

• DON’T have a fast-paced recording – give users time to listen, process and decide their route. This is longer than you think, so give a generous pause time.

• DON’T have a long introduction – the introduction message should be prompt, predominantly informing the caller of who they are through to. The ideal length of an introduction message is no longer than 30 seconds.

• DON’T use the IVR as a marketing and promotional tool – marketing messages stalls the caller’s progression and disrupts the natural flow of the IVR.

Infographic visually displaying the do's and don'ts of IVR systems

Future of IVR systems:

IVR systems can quickly become outdated with customers’ modern expectations deriving from experiences with large corporations, such as Amazon. Now, IVR systems have developed to incorporate AI and speech recognition. Increasingly, private organisations are investing in bot technologies to replace IVR systems and ensure 100% self-service. Bots are used to understand the caller’s intent and purpose of the conversation by asking questions. These advances would eradicate the need for an IVR menu and organisations would easily be able to track what callers want.