Research, analysis, and thought leadership for enterprise communications.

Make IVRs Less Hated

by in Telecom

“Thanks for calling. Your call is very important to us. We are experiencing unusually high call volumes. Our menus have changed. Please listen carefully to the following seven options.”

Let me comment about the above typical IVR phrases:

  1. Being thanked by a machine is patronizing.
  2. If my call was truly important, I wouldn’t be shoved into an IVR system.
  3. If every time I call I am told that the call volumes are unusual then perhaps you don’t understand your business, or don’t care. But if I get this message every time then the call volumes are normal, and you are just understaffed.
  4. You don’t need to tell me that the menus have changed, because, probably, they haven’t changed since I called you yesterday.
  5. Seven menu options is too many, and it is demeaning to be told by a machine to listen carefully.

Let me solve the above problems.

“You have reached Acme, the leaders in soft ice cream. Bypass this system by dialing 0 or an extension number anytime. For sales touch 1. For service touch 2. For support touch 3. This message will repeat once.”

Keep the options simple. Be honest, and don’t waste the caller’s time.

Now, once they have navigated through three layers of menus, help them bypass them in the future:

“We’re transferring you to the Northwest regional sales office. Bypass these menus next time by dialing 1, 3, 2. Transferring you now…”


Spread the word:

  • Brendan

    I agree with all of the five phrase comments. I don’t agree with offering the bypass. Don’t get me wrong – if you can offer multi-skilled/multi-discipline agents that can be a single stop shop, then absolutely you should do so. But if that’s the case you shouldn’t have a menu in the first place, the calls should just hit those agents automatically. Offering a bypass as a standard part of a menu feels counter intuitive to me.

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Colin Berkshire is a highly technical HR executive in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Colin has an engineering and voice background, and is currently on assignment in Asia. NOTE: Colin does not respond to comments, and does not Tweet.