6 IVR Tips to Improve the Customer Experience

visual ivrThough IVR systems are packed with benefits for customers (faster service, 24-7 availability, easy functioning for routine tasks), many continue to prefer a live agent. Why are so many customers bypassing self-service and opting to wait on hold for a representative? There are a few reasons:

• The IVR system makes it difficult for the customer to find the correct option.

• A long list of menu options make the customer feel that it would be quicker to speak with a live agent

• Poor voice quality makes it hard to understand the options.

In order to combat these issues, the contact center’s IVR system should cater to each customer’s needs. When your self-service system has high quality functioning and is both user-friendly and intuitive, customers will have a more enjoyable and successful experience. Here are six ways to improve your IVR system:

1. Limit menu items.

Customers can’t see the choices; they have to remember them. If they miss a choice and listen to the next few, they may forget which number they should have pressed. Simplify the process by offering a max of five options.

2. Mention popular choices first.

Frequently used menu choices should be at the front of the list. Callers shouldn’t have to listen to the entire menu if they’re calling for the most popular reason.

3. Add pauses between options.

There should be a pause between each menu option. The caller should have the opportunity to think about the option for a moment and then press the associated number. If you immediately move on to the next option, the customer may lose their train of thought, requiring them to repeat the process.

4. Setup visual IVR.

Visual IVR shows customers your self-service map when they’re on your website or mobile app. They can go through the different menus and solutions, see how long the wait time is for a live agent and request a call back if they want to speak with a representative. Customers don’t have to call in or listen to a list of menu options, but they can still access all of your useful self-service options.

5. Use layman’s terms.

Menu options should be as simple and obvious as possible. Don’t use technical or unfamiliar terms that will be difficult for people outside your industry to understand. Additionally, keep phrases short and concise.

6. Give loyal customers VIP treatment.

Your best customers who frequently use your self-service system should be treated like VIPs. If they regularly call with the same query, like paying their bill, the IVR system should greet them with a customized message. For example, it can say, “Hello Mr. Jones, would you like to pay your bill?”

While automation can be valuable for both the customer and the contact center, trying to automate every single task is a mistake. Automating everything can lead to lengthy menus and confusing choices. Determine the reasons why most customers are getting in touch, then decide which of these tasks can be easily handled through self-service.


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