I have been designing automated phone systems, otherwise known as interactive voice response (IVR) systems, for many years. Anyone can take stab at writing an IVR script — just like anyone can draw a pretty picture — and everybody is a critic. Designing IVR scripts requires a thick skin.
So, who do I think is the most important person in IVR design? The caller is. And to listen, you need to talk to customers. It may seem obvious, but it’s not as common as it should be.
We’ve all used a really bad IVR or web
So, you have some new shiny database and big switch that can react to three pieces of customer information. Therefore, three options on an IVR menu, right? Ideal. Expectations are high for good performance. But the callers have other ideas and ask for a live person.
- Moderate Focus Groups
Focus groups are a marketing technique used to introduce new products or ideas, and to measure emotional reactions to brands and demonstrations. Avoid overreacting to comments. Just because customers dislike speech recognition, doesn’t mean you must avoid it. Make it better. Use your design skills to offer solutions.
- Talk With Call Center Agents
Use agent roundtables. Agents have an ear to thousands of callers. They know how callers talk and what they ask for. Talk to agents to hear their experiences. Then, use your design skills to offer solutions.
- Conduct Usability Testing
We have customers test drive our IVR design. They tell us what they like and don’t like. But don’t overreact if what you see during the tests is negative. Again, use your design skills to offer solutions.
In reality, the caller already knows why they are calling you. It’s you who doesn’t know. You need to get OUT in front and talk to customers to get the INSIDE scoop … the actual reasons they call. Then use your design skills to offer solutions.