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call center IVR phone menu prompts scriptwriting tips

15 Voice Prompt Blunders To Avoid in Your IVR System

When writing voice prompts for IVR or ACD systems, clear concise communication is key. The thing about a well structured call-processing system with properly recorded voice prompts is that you just don’t notice it. What you do notice, however, is a system that is riddled with problems and errors.To ensure you’re creating a great caller experience, be sure to avoid these 15 common blunders in your voice prompt scripts:

  1. Using the Word “dial.” True story: I have never “dialed” a phone. For my whole life, I’ve pressed buttons. Now, I press “buttons” on my touch-screen phone. Think about it–when was the last time you actually dialed a phone? If you are instructing callers to dial an extension, you should switch to the term “press,” otherwise you might seem outdated.
  2. Too many menu items. As a general rule, 3-5 items should be sufficient for each level of your menu. If you have more than that, callers may become confused, unengaged, and frustrated, making work harder for your reps.
  3. Not enough menu items. Too few menu options is also a problem. If you don’t give users enough options, they may not be sure which department is the right choice for them. 
  4. Putting the extension number before the name of the person/department. A good prompt will say, “For Sales, Press 1” not “Press 1 for Sales.” Why? Callers are listening for their destination first, then how to get there. If you play the extension first, they’re not likely to associate the number with the department.
  5. Forgetting to tell callers they can enter a known extension at any time. Many repeat callers will know which extension they need to use before hearing any of the options. They might have even looked it up on your website or seen it in your email signature. Make sure you remind these callers that they can enter an extension without listening to the prompts.
  6. Neglecting an exit option. You should let callers know that number they can use to immediately leave the system and speak to a live human (during business hours, of course). This works in two ways–first, callers immediately know that there is a “real human” who can talk to them. Second, if callers know they can leave the phone tree, they’ll be more receptive to listening to your prompts.
  7. Having a long greeting before prompts begin. Time spent with an IVR system isn’t the same as hold time.
  8. Using an unprofessional-sounding voice. Professional Voice Over Talents exist for a reason: people like to hear them.Your automated answering system might be the first impression callers have of your business. Why would you use staticy, improperly recorded announcements?
  9. Not having an “after hours” variation of your prompts. When your office is closed, you should have a prompt that lets people know this and encourages them to leave a message (with appropriate menu option) or call back during normal business hours (and give hours). An after hours greeting can also include emergency contact number or direct clients to a self-service option on your website.
  10. Repeating the word “please” in every prompt. In business, proper manners are essential. On your phone system, saying “please” with every prompt is redundant and irritating. Say “please” in the first prompt, then keep your options more streamlined for easy listening. Remember–you’re writing for the ear.
  11. Using long phrasing for each prompt. It’s a prompt, not a message. Keep it short and to the point so you don’t lose caller’s attention. Think of each prompt as a call to action. 
  12. Stating extension numbers as one number. If you’re saying “Two hundred three” instead of “Two Zero Three,” you’re making a grave error and potentially going to have a lot of confused callers. It’s not that people will be looking for the button “two hundred three” on their phone, it’s that they might here two and three and ignore the zero. Plus, doesn’t it sound weird to tell callers to “Press Two Hundred Three”?
  13. Including Jargon. Jargon got its name because people don’t understand it. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid jargon in your voice prompts to make the caller experience as painless as possible.
  14. Putting frequently requested options at the end of the menu. It just makes sense to put the most frequently requested options first. If you already know what people are looking for, you should aim to deliver it as quickly as possible and move them efficiently through the rest of your call processing.
  15. Lacking Consistency. If you use inconsistent phrasing for your prompts, you’re likely to confuse callers. By changing your word choice, the caller won’t be able to follow a predictable pattern. For example, you shouldn’t say, “For sales, press 1; To reach customer service, press 2; Press 3 for reservations.” It just doesn’t make sense. 

What do you think? Have you heard any voice prompts that have made you cringe? Would you add anything else to this list?

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IVR phone menu prompts resources

Live Agents Or Automated Attendant?

The term ‘Live Agents’ has replaced the traditional “receptionist”.  Not too long ago most businesses answered calls live during “normal” business hours. So much has changed in how we work and live and communicate, I’m not sure what is considered normal.  Today customers expect 24/7, 365 support from any channel possible. In order to keep pace with customer demand auto-attendants are used everywhere – even local pizza shops.  Once considered a tool for big businesses, auto-attendants and IVR are available in just about every phone system sold. But which is better?  Answering the call with a live representative or having all calls go through a menu of options?

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customer experience phone menu prompts resources

5 Ways Auto Attendant Can Increase Efficiency in Your Business

Every business owner knows the importance of accurate and timely communications to keep the company running smoothly. A missed call or message can mean a significant loss of revenue and possibly a lost client. The auto attendant on your phone system can help to solve this issue. The obvious feature not missing a call is just one benefit of this technology.

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IVR phone menu prompts resources

What is IVR? How Does it Relate to Voice Prompts?

Working in our Client Relation’s Department we often get asked what is the difference between a voice prompt and IVR (Interactive Voice Response). IVR is a telephony technology that can process a combination of touch tones and voice inputs.  IVR uses voice prompts to provide callers’ with instructions and directions for accessing information via phone. Voice prompts are used within an IVR? Yes, that wasn’t a typo, prompts are audio files that provide greetings or informational messages within a telephone voice processing system. They can be sentences, phrases or individual words.  Unlike voice prompts an IVR system consists of a database, telephone equipment, a supporting infrastructure and software applications. Most IVR applications include:

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phone menu prompts resources tips

DIY Voice Prompts

If you’ve ever thought about recording your own prompts for your business, then you’ve probably already found out just how difficult it can be. Even with the right equipment (which alone costs thousands of dollars), depending on the word count it can take a week just to get the right recordings done. Maybe that’s why professionally recorded voice prompts are in such high demand.

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message on hold phone menu prompts tips

Message on Hold & Voice Prompt Tips from Aristotle

At its heart, what is a message? What is it supposed to do? A message transfers information, but iif it is not engaging will that information reach the listener. Centuries ago Aristotle was so successful at creating an engaging message, humanity still listens to his words today. His artistic proofs offer great audio marketing script tips for messages on hold and prompts.

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auto phone menu prompts resources

Multilingual Voice Prompts – Part of the Dealership Experience

Walk into almost any car dealership today and you’ll hear how providing an exceptional customer experience is vital to the way that business operates. Indeed, many automobile dealerships bend over backwards to offer perks to customers, including comfortable waiting rooms with free beverages and snacks and preferred customer programs. Some larger dealerships even boast that they have salespeople that can help customers in many languages. However, what about working with customers who speak a foreign language before they enter the store?

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customer experience phone menu prompts scriptwriting tips

Best Practices For IVR, Voice Prompts, and Auto Attendant

 
IVR_BestPractices

As a business owner, you are likely interested in providing superior quality at every customer touch point for your business. One of the first things a customer may encounter is your telephony technology, be it IVR, voice prompts, or an Auto Attendant. What can you do to ensure that your company shines with this type of technology?

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phone menu prompts resources tips

4 Benefits of Using an Auto Attendant

Using an auto attendant system is a great way to care for your customers without all the overhead of a receptionist. This system will have numerous benefits for your business. Listed below are a few benefits associated with using this system.

BenefitsofUsinganAutoAttendant

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customer experience IVR phone menu prompts script samples

IVR Script Examples to Improve Caller Navigation

Your IVR or Auto Attendant system is like the front door of your business – it’s the first thing people see and the first impression callers get. Not only is it the first impression, but a crucial part of your customer experience. When coupled with well-written voice prompts, the system helps callers navigate your phone system and reach an agent efficiently. A poorly constructed phone system can lead to caller frustration and aggravation. 

We’ve gathered some popular Auto Attendant script examples to illustrate how a clear and concise script should look. Check out these scripts below and learn what makes them so efficient when communicating with callers.