Please choose from the following 6 options…

When designing the options for your IVR or Auto-Attendant, make sure they match your customer’s expectations. Presenting a caller with a few clear, concise options will allow them to navigate through your system quickly, with out wasting time waiting to hear options they are not interested in. 
Limiting yourself to only a few options will likely take some extra thought on your part to make sure you are expressing the options in a way that callers are looking for them.

My experience with a system recently was along this line. I was trying to reach the TurboTorch division of Thermadyne, a large holding company, for tech support on a torch. I found their number on the Support section of their website, which lists 8 divisions of the company. However, the Auto-Attendant only listed 6 options! (Two of which sounded VERY similar) And worst of all, the one company I wanted wasn’t even listed. Now, what was I to do? I stabbed option 1, and got lucky that they combined the tech support for the company I was looking for there as well!

So, what could they have done to make this more Caller Friendly? If in fact the two support options were combined, go ahead and express that in the greeting. Instead of saying “For Victor, press 1”, they could have easily created “for Victor and TurboTorch, press 1”. Then I would have known which option to choose. In their case, they had the choice to include TurboTorch as a 7th option, combine it with the first option, or leave it out all together. Unfortunately, they chose the last option. With a little more thought, they could have not only kept their options short and concise, they could have saved me the frustration of having to call back a couple times to guess the right option!

Repeat the options, with a prompt

When you have reached the end of your options, allow them to repeat, but let the caller know that is what is happening. You can give them the choice to repeat (“To repeat these options, press *”), or you can automatically repeat them (stay on the line to hear these options repeat). Sometimes people do need to hear the options again, and to simply send them to an operator won’t serve them, or your business the most effectively. No matter what, don’t EVER simply disconnect the call after the options are played! That is a great way to make people never call you back!

Let callers know the number of options up front.

Another way to manage your caller’s expectations is to let them know at the very beginning, how many options you will give them. That would sound like: “please select from the following 6 options”. This allows callers to know how long they’ll have to listen, and how many choices they need to keep in their head before they choose a selection.

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