IVR and Auto-Attendant Best Practices

“Please choose from the following six options.”

When designing the options for your IVR or Auto-Attendant, make sure they match your customer’s expectations. Presenting a caller with four or five clear, concise options will allow him to navigate through your system quickly, without wasting time waiting to hear options he is not interested in.

Using only four or five options will likely take some extra thought on your part to make sure you are expressing the options in a way callers will find helpful and convenient.

Recently, I had an experience with a system concerning options. I was trying to reach one brand division of a large holding company, for tech support on a tool. I found its number on the Support section of its website, which lists the company’s eight divisions. However, the Auto-Attendant only listed six divisions! (Two of which sounded very similar) And worst of all, the one brand division I wanted wasn’t even listed. Now, what was I to do? I guessed, selected option 1, and got lucky that the company combined its tech support in one place!

So, what could the company have done to make its phone options more caller-friendly? If in fact the two support options are combined, it can go ahead and express that in the greeting. Instead of saying “For Victor, press 1,” the company could have easily created “For Victor and Brand X, press 1.” Then I would have known which option to choose.

In this case, the company had the choice to include Brand X as a seventh option, to combine it with the first option, or to leave it out all together. Unfortunately, the company chose the last option. With a little more thought, it could have not only kept its options short and concise, but it could have saved me the frustration of having to call back a couple of times to guess the right option!

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