Most of us are quite used to interacting with pre-recorded voice prompts to help guide us to our desired virtual destination or complete daily transactions over the phone.
If we’re lucky, whatever business we’re conducting is swift, and we barely even notice that we have just been automatically assisted by a series of voice prompt recordings. However, if the IVR prompts are unclear, poorly worded, or non-responsive in any way, it can wreak havoc on us and hold us up from the rest of our day.
With that in mind, here are some commonly used voice prompts that can improve a caller’s experience with your IVR system.
The ‘Dial’ Voice Prompt
It’s generally understood that rotary phones are very much a thing of the past. The last thing you want is to be using outdated terminology in today’s tech-friendly business world. If you’re instructing callers to ‘dial’ an extension, switch to the term “press” instead.
Voice Prompts Associating Extension Number and Person/Department
Many voice prompt recordings that direct callers to specific departments or personnel can be set up in such a way that the caller does not have enough time to identify their selection and respond. For instance, “Press 1 for customer service” will not grab the caller’s attention to their desired selection as, “For customer service, press 1” Why? Callers want to hear their destination first, then the instruction of how to reach their destination. By playing the extension first, callers may not realize a certain number is associated with their desired department until too late.
The “Extension” Voice Prompt
If you have regular clients or repeat callers to your business, most of them will eventually recall the extension of those they wish to speak with. Unfortunately, many IVR systems forget an option that allows them to bypass the typical menu selection process. A simple voice prompt such as, “If you know your party’s extension, press…” will allow your callers to enter an extension and save precious time rather than listen to extraneous options.
The Exit Voice Prompt
Callers should be able to immediately leave the IVR prompt system and speak to a live human, so make sure that option is available. “To speak with a live representative, press…” works well here.
After Hours Voice Prompts
When your office is closed, your IVR prompts should reflect this to your callers. Voice prompts that encourage them “To leave a message, press” or to “Call back during normal business hours, Monday through Friday 9AM to 5PM…” will help you stay in touch with your callers when you return.
‘Please’ In Voice Prompts
While using pleasant words like “please” is great in introductory voice prompts or menu options, it’s important that you eventually get down to business. Your following options should be more streamlined to avoid sounding repetitive or irritating callers.
Prompts Per Set of Menu Options
A general rule of thumb is that about 3 to 5 menu items is enough for each level of menu options. Any more than that amount can make it overwhelming to callers and have them disengaged before they even get through to your representatives.