An Interactive Voice Response script (IVR) or auto-attendant greeting is probably the first thing most callers hear when contacting your business. It’s the audio version of a front door and it can make a good or bad impression on customers. There are many IVR script examples you can find online but not all of them are equal.
IVR scripts are convenient but you should set them up the right way. A bad IVR system can turn off customers and potentially cost you future sales. But good IVR scripts make a good first impression on customers and reduce their frustration when trying to solve issues. If you’re looking for IVR script examples, you’re at the right place. Keep reading for some tips on creating IVR scripts to improve the customer experience.
IVR SCRIPT EXAMPLES
The difference between a good and bad IVR script can seem minor but they can have a big impact on your customers. Let’s take a couple of examples and see what makes them good or bad as the case may be.
For sales, press 1. Billing and account status, press 2. For tracking and delivery, press 3. To return to the main menu, press 7. To speak to an agent, press 0.
What makes this a good IVR script? It’s concise, consistent, and easy to understand over the phone. Also note how the IVR presents the options first, followed by the number to press. Callers almost always know the department or function they want, so this helps them identify the correct option. Saying the number first serves no purpose since by the time they reach the end of the menu, they’ve forgotten what 1 or 2 stands for.
- Dial 1 for a billing specialist.
- Dial 2 for speaking to an account representative.
- Dial 3 to reach the sales department.
- Dial 4 if you know the extension number of the person you are calling.
- Dial 5 to get your account status.
- Dial 6 to update your contact information with us.
- Dial 7 to return to the main menu.
- Dial 8 to repeat the message.
A quick glance tells you this script is much worse than the first one. It offers too many options in no particular order. It provides the number first which means the customer has to remember what each refers to. The script is too wordy and distracting as well. And finally, who dials a number anymore? None of your customers are calling from a rotary phone, so use the word press instead of dial.
THINGS TO AVOID IN IVR SCRIPTS
1. Too many options
Who has the time to listen to dozens of menu options? You’ll find most of your customers will just press 0 to speak with someone or use the most general option. The number of abandoned calls will rise and customer satisfaction will certainly take a dive.
2. No choice to speak to a person
This is a big no-no. No matter where in the menu tree they are, callers must have the option to speak to a person. As it is many customers don’t like listening to an automated message and most will get frustrated when they hear no option to talk to an agent on the menu.
3. Wrong or outdated info
Using wrong or outdated information in your IVR scripts is the quickest way to annoy your callers. Suppose your business hours have changed and your website reflects that but not your phones. Customers will get confused and you’ll have even more calls in the queue.
4. Using jargon or text speak
This is also a sure-fire way to frustrate your customers. Many companies use terminology that only the staff or industry insiders will know. If your customers don’t understand the options, how can they get the help they need? The same goes for text-speak or other variations. There’s nothing wrong with informal speech but using acronyms like LOL or BRB in your IVR does not convey a professional image!
5. Lack of prioritization
Many IV scripts put menu options in random order. The more common options are buried at the bottom which means fewer customers will reach the right department. Similarly, the same IVR scripts may be re-used throughout the company forcing callers to listen to sales options when all they want is a status update.
IVR BEST PRACTICES
So what should you do instead? Here are a few best practices to remember when writing your IVR scripts:
1. Keep it simple and concise
Remember that your customers are listening to IVR. Your aim is to get them help as effectively as possible, not to keep them waiting for 5 minutes before they can even select an option.
2. Limit and prioritize menu options
Ideally, the main menu shouldn’t have more than 4 – 5 options and they should be arranged in order of relevance. If most of your calls are sales inquiries or tech support, push them to the top.
3. Keep extension numbers at the end
Customers usually know what function they want, so they’re listening for it. Say ‘for sales, press 1’ instead of ‘press 1 for sales.
4. Use one voice throughout
Keep the voice consistent throughout the IVR system. Don’t use one voice for the main menu, another for sub-menus. You can use distinct voices if you offer multiple language options but consistency will help callers understand the message better.
5. Always offer to repeat the message and allow them to speak to a person
This goes without saying but always offer the three basic options: return to the previous menu, repeat the message, and speak to a person.
6. Use a voice pro, not a staff member
You might think it’s fun to have an employee record the IVR scripts but it’s always better to use professional voices. They are trained to record messages in neutral accents with consistent pacing in the right tone. It’s easier to be consistent within the IVR as well. Finally, what happens when the employee leaves and you need to offer a new menu option?
HOW TO WRITE IVR SCRIPTS
Before you start setting up your IVR system, here’s a quick guide to writing good IVR scripts:
1. Map out the process
Before you write a single word, visualize the entire IVR call flow from start to finish. Consider where each option leads the customer and whether that’s the right place for them to get help. Do not leave dead ends where the customer has no idea what to do and hangs up instead. Similarly, don’t have multiple options that lead to the same destination. The IVR call flow should be straightforward and easy to navigate for a complete stranger to the system.
2. Assemble the right team
Decide on the scope of the IVR. Is it strictly for your contact center or company-wide? What departments and options should you include or discard? For a comprehensive IVR system, you will need input from all departments as to what options their callers ask for the most. If it’s just for your technical support team, ask them what kind of calls they get the most, and design the menu around it.
3. Create a clean flow
Keep in mind that the goal of the IVR prompts is to not cover every possible scenario. It’s about efficiently dealing with the common issues while your staff can deal with bigger problems. Why tie up your staff with simple queries like account status or tracking shipments when they could be helping a customer figure out the best product to buy or how to send in something for repair.
4. Use the right language
Take care to avoid technical jargon as it can creep in inadvertently. Use short and simple words that are easy to understand for everyone. It helps if you read the words out loud to someone as what’s simple on the page may be difficult to hear on the phone. Decide how formal or informal you want the tone to be, it should fit with your brand image and the context.
5. Test with customers
If you spend a long time designing the IVR system, you tend to lose sight of the customer’s reaction. Once you have a working model, test it on customers to see if someone can easily navigate through the system. You might catch simple errors that can improve the customer experience before launch.
6. Consider a call-back option
One recent IVR innovation that customers love is the option for a callback. If you know hold times are going to be very long, even hours sometimes, then consider this option. Customers can use the callback option and an agent will call them when it’s their turn. Saves time for everyone!
7. Monitor, change, and repeat
What happens after you launch your new IVR scripts? The process doesn’t stop there. Always monitor the call queue to see how customers respond. Be ready to change things up. Make sure everything is updated, clear, and simple to use for the customer.