For the uneducated, IVR simply means Interactive Voice Response and is the person you hear when greeted by nearly every mid - large size organization on the planet. Whether you are greeted and given options to press or can actually interact with this voice (something we call speech recognition) depends on who you call. In almost all cases, IVR experiences are unnatural and often frustrate us to no end.
Now, I will say this, those organizations that make it at least easy to move through the IVR, provide us with an option to transact (e.g. banking) and most importantly make it easy to speak with a live person deserve some praise. There are several companies, Canadian banks in particular, who do this well.
The issue most of us have, myself included, is that too often I am either given far too many choices and moreover have too hard a time reaching a live person. Also, if I am asked to enter information in the IVR to validate my identity, please do not have me do this all over again if I do speak with a live person - This is a bad to way to start what could already be a frustrating customer experience.
To simplify things I offer this tips to all companies using an IVR:
- Use the most natural voice possible - Coming across more like a real person is most important
- Consider recording language that you'd use yourself - Avoid sounding like a recording
- Do not offer more than 4 options anywhere and try to get to 3 or 2 - Limit sub menus
- Make it EASY for customers to speak with somebody live - It may cost more to speak with more live customers but if the result is increased loyalty you will WIN a hundred times over
- I have yet to experience a speech software that works well consistently - If you know of one LMK
I know this a hot topic and there are many opinions out there and I welcome your comments below.
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