Six Musts if You Use Voice Response…


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It is a bit of a touchy subject

Should you use a: Voice Response Unit VRU, Interactive Voice Response IVR, one of those damn electronic things (call it what you will) to answer your customer’s calls?

The naysayers will have you believe they damage “moments of truth” and ruin the “customer experience”.

The fans will tell you they are hugely efficient, and will save you millions.

I don’t have an opinion

… about whether you should use them or not… I don’t mind them, but I am the sort of miserable old git who doesn’t like talking to people, so what do I know?

But I do believe that if you choose to use one you should…

Design it well

  1. Menus should be short: we can only remember 4 things (and the last thing should always be “for all other queries”)
  2. Put the most requested option first: normal people only ring parcel delivery firms to find out where their parcel is. That really ought to be option one. (Not the whiz-bang cross sell option)
  3. Don’t ask the same question twice: if the technology asks for your customer’s details and verifies who they are then please, for the love of your God / Spouse / Child, make sure your agents don’t have to ask again.
  4. Tell your agents what the customer wants: if your customers chose “payment query” then make sure they are directed to the “payment queries” team. – Try choosing that option on your own system and asking the agent who answers if they know why you called. You will be appalled by the answer.
  5. Don’t get clever: if you can’t draw out the call routing logic on a sheet of A4 paper by hand and read it at arm’s length you can’t understand what is going on and nobody else will either. Keep it simple.
  6. Choose your hold music wisely: please do not use Zoom by Fat Larry, unless of course it is part of your call (and customer) mitigation strategy, in which case I thoroughly recommend it.

P.S. If you need further technical clarification on system design please watch the video

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Image by Mark Strozier

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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