Interactive Voice Responses (IVRs) are a great way to offer a warm greeting to callers, simple instruction or guidance to the right department, or a courteous after-hours message. However, it would seem that sometimes a caller is greeted with a series of clichés that may not provide the information or experience they’re looking for. These stale prompts may have been popular at one point, but are usually no longer needed in an IVR menu.
Here are four prompts that could probably be permanently purged from phone trees:
“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 is 8 and a half, my favorite Jello flavor 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?” It’s a veritable 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….”
I’m going to play the “Caller is Smarter Than You Think” card, and send this out: I think we all know — by now — that most 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 log-in protocol, you’re safe with “Visit our website at angrysquirrel.com for a full listing of our prices and services.”
“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. And, even if there are minor tweaks to the voicemail, it’s unusual for entire departments to have their extensions completely re-assigned.
Keep It Natural, Avoid Clichés
The goal for your IVR prompts is to provide a message that welcomes, sorts, informs, and thanks. It’s best to have it written in such a way that the spoken words read conversationally, and can therefore be read in a natural, candid way which avoids formulas and clichés.
What are your pet peeves when listening to a company’s call recordings? Which dated messages would you delete? Let us know in the comments!