5 Tips for the Best IVR and Auto Attendant Messaging

By Allison Smith
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If your company has an IVR system, chances are good that it might be the very first impression of your business for many of your customers or clients. Your IVR scripts are essentially your company’s first line of customer service, so you want to make sure your message to them is on point. Here are some simple ways to do that by creating a well-written IVR script and ensuring your voice prompts are helping your caller’s experience. Let’s take a look at this basic main menu IVR script sample and review the 5 reasons why it works.

IVR Script Sample

Hello and thank you for calling [Your Company Name]. If you know the extension of the person or party you wish to reach, please enter it now.  For sales, press 1. For technical support, press 2. For billing and payment inquiries, press 3. For more information on our company, press 4.To speak with a live representative, press 0 at any time. To repeat this message, please press pound.

1. Greet Your Clients From the Start

As we mentioned, your IVR script’s opening line should be as pleasant and professional as if you were shaking hands with a new client or business partner for the first time yourself. A quick intro is a perfect way to lead into your company’s menu option, which will efficiently direct your callers to where they need to go.

 

2. Keep it Short & Sweet

The prompts in this IVR script sample are both direct and on message. Be concise. Remember, the time your caller spends navigating your menu is not just their time, but the time you could be more directly engaging them in a more meaningful way. We can all get frustrated with IVR prompts that seem as long as a Tolstoy novel, so in order to keep your callers focused on the menu options you are offering, try and keep your prompts economical. The caller’s attention span is shorter than you think.

 

3. Sometimes Less Is More

In keeping with the theme of concision, we find that IVR scripts featuring a long list of departments can sometimes be difficult for callers to navigate. Too many options at your main menu, and impatient callers start hanging up or pressing 0 for a live representative right away. A good way to avoid losing your caller is to keep a menu that is easy to digest upon first listen. Try narrowing the initial list of department options down to a few general groups (my recommendation is five choices, initially) and expand from there.

 

4. Departments First, Extension Second

Unfortunately, an all-too-common common mistake in many IVR scripts is the simple way each menu option is phrased. It is much easier to first get your caller’s attention by first announcing the department they may wish to reach (“For sales….”) followed by the extension number (“….press 1”). This phrasing gives your clients time to process the options and make their decision, rather than the other way around (“Press 1 for sales”). It may seem like the minutest of details, but it is far more effective at directing your callers efficiently.

 

5. When Was the Last Time Anyone ‘Dialed’?

This is a bit of antiquated terminology that really has no place in any modern IVR Script. Maybe 40 to 50 years ago people were ‘dialing’ with rotary phones from their homes, but in today’s fast-paced world, most of us have iPhones that operate at lightning speed. The prompt message “press” is a far more representative instruction today. Again, many clients and other businesses will draw an initial impression from their first IVR experience with you. The last thing you will want is for your company to sound behind the times.

Of course, as times change and IVR systems modernize, new trends and best practices emerge for better call navigation and caller efficiency in your phone system.

Following these suggestions will help to draft a good solid framework for your Asterisk prompts, and provide a smooth-flowing experience for your callers!

 

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Let me help you build the perfect IVR.

Click here to listen to the voice prompts I have recorded for Asterisk & Switchvox solutions.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Allison Smith

If you’ve listened to the public airwaves, used an automated phone system, participated in a phone survey, or even used a talking thermostat, you’re familiar with Allison Smith. One of the most prevalent telephone voices in the world today, Allison has voiced platforms for Vonage, Bell Canada, Cingular, Verizon, Qwest, Twitterfone, Hawaiian Telcom – as well as being the voice of the Asterisk Open Source PBX. Clients include Marriot Hotels, 3M, Pfizer, Toyota, Victoria’s Secret, Bank of America and EBay among many others. Her website is www.theivrvoice.com and www.theasteriskvoice.com.

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