An IVR system can be a gamble because you are not providing what the customer wants—a person to talk to, someone who is empathetic and experienced in customer service. Of course, there are many circumstances that would make it difficult to provide round the clock personal attention to every caller. In these cases, it is vital to simulate customer service skills via automated response. That means you must go out of your way to develop an effective IVR “script” that is customer-centric, focused on meeting a caller’s needs, and with a very respectful and personable tone.
Writing an Effective Phone Menu Message
Pretend as if every call is an “escalated call”, one requiring a customer service expert’s attention. One of the fundamentals of customer service is to communicate information clearly, without adding to the caller’s stress or confusion. In general, the longer and more complex your sentences are, the more confusing the menus will be. Long-winded menus are the exact opposite of the simple “press 1 for…” information that callers are expecting.
When you are recording your message, make sure your voice is clear and authoritative, not too soft, indistinct or weak in pitch. Use a voice that is appropriate for the occasion. Naturally, a movie theatre voice would be different in tone and recording style than a clinic’s, because of the setting. For some companies, a more personal and warm voice would be important; in other cases, a more enthusiastic voice would be appreciated.
In creating phone menu scripts, remember to put on the mind of your caller. The last thing they want is to have to find their way through multiple layers of menus. In some cases, they want to speak to an operator or leave a voice mail message, so always include an option to fast-forward through the IVR and get to a specific person. After that, plan out all of the options and break them down into simple commands.
Tips for Developing a Phone Menu Script
- Keep sentences short, describing simple actions followed by the phone command.
- Instead of explaining the differences in complex IVR options, break them down into individual multiple key commands for simple actions.
- Be sure to specify commonly recurring situations like “billing” or “shipment difficulties”, since customer service, billing, and technical support are all vague categories of assistances.
- Limit auto answers to the most common phone problems and leave the more complex situations (requiring more than yes and no responses) to an operator or company representative.
- If you are unsure how people would react to your phone auto attendant scripts, then put together a “focus group” of your company employees or other business associates before finalizing the script. Have each member call the system pretending to be a customer and ask them to grade the system’s effectiveness in keeping customers happy and pointing them to the proper action.
Writing an effective phone menu script doesn’t mean you’re writing a sales call, or a replacement for a human customer service agent. It just means you are offering fast key actions for their immediate attention. It’s a temporary fix that you are happy to help with.
Writing a script for a phone menu can be as simple as saying something friendly and helpful like:
Thank you for calling ABC Interactive
If this is about starting a new account press 1.
If this is a technical support issue press 2.
For billing questions or problems press 3.
To speak to a customer agent press 4 or wait on the line.
To hear these options again press star.