I’ve been a parent now for nine years. My boys are both the joy and struggle of my life. The excitement that accompanies the birth of one’s children is comparable to nothing else. That life-changing experience fills a new parent with so many emotions: pride, self-doubt, hope, fear, joy, terror.
It’s funny how a new parent’s aspirations for their kids differ from their children’s aspirations as they get older. “My kids won’t eat sugar, watch too much TV or stay up late. They will like homework, become voracious readers and sleep when they’re supposed to. I’ll see to that!” Consider a family with three kids, 15, 10 and 5. The parents, obviously, have more life experience and do their best to impart that wisdom on their kids.
The 15-year-old has just enough life experience of his own to take what his parents teach him, question them, disregard them, and ultimately decide to come up with his own way. He is far from an expert but thinks he has a better solution and wants to prove he knows every bit as much as his parents, if not more.
The 10-year-old is beginning to think for himself, but still trusts his parents’ judgment. He will seek his parents’ advice to validate his own thoughts and ideas before moving forward.
To the 5-year-old, their parents can do no wrong and she tries her best to please. She knows Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are all watching, and she wants to receive her reward: presents, cash and chocolate.
A dialogue designer is often thrust into the role of a parent when developing a concept or detailed interactive voice response (IVR) design for a client. A newer client might feel giddy, knowing he’s going to have a real IVR for Christmas! A more seasoned client has learned some things, dealt with some hurdles but still relies on the dialogue designer because she’s seen how they can do amazing things to improve caller experience. And a savvier client may have his own ideas of how he wants a design to work, and he may push back on consultation because he’s sure he knows his business better than anyone else, and that will surely translate into a better IVR design.
A new dialogue designer may have the same thoughts of unrealistic success as a parent does when their child is first born. “I’ll just explain best practices, and right away they’ll understand and think my design is wonderful.” After some interaction with a few clients, the designer gains wisdom and communication experience with a more realistic grasp of the design process; however, the designer still has not seen the full scope of work possible for an IVR design. An experienced designer has seen multiple design scenarios by industry and IVR type, has seen differing client knowledge levels, and knows how important his or her interaction with the client is to the final outcome.
Some people have innate skills as parents, and those same types of skills can translate to an effective dialogue designer. Taking time to understand a client’s individual needs and then cater to those needs within the guidelines of experience is the best way to raise responsible, grown-up IVR designs.