You can use interactive voice response (IVR) to obtain information from callers and direct the call to the appropriate queue. Question-and-answer pairs determine which queue to use. Depending on the caller’s response, the caller either hears a follow-up question, or is routed to the appropriate queue. The IVR questions and the caller’s responses are provided to the responding agent who accepts the call, providing valuable information to the agent.
Some of the points that need to be taken care while IVR design.
–What is the best way to design IVR menu —
1. Present the most requested items first.
Not all menu items are created equal. If you know which items are requested most frequently, place those items at the head of the menu list.
2. Keep the menu list to four items or less.
Because users have to try to remember all the options present, try to keep your menus to four items or less. If you need to present the user with more than four items, split the list into two: the first list should present the user with the items they are most likely to request, with the last option granting access to the second list.
3. Keep the menu depth to three or less.
People hate deep menus. They are exasperated by them. And the deeper the menu, the stronger their feeling that they are being led into a blind alley with little hope to get where they want to go. If your menu depth is more than three, go back to the drawing board and see if you can’t consolidate some of those tree branches.
4. Use the construct “You can say….”
If your application is speech enabled, use the construct, “You can say….” to list the menu options.
System: You can say, “Books,” “Magazines” or “Newspapers.”
5. Avoid the construct “For X, say X, for Y, say Y, for Z, say Z.”
Simply rewrite the menu prompt as, “You can say, ‘X,’ ‘Y’ or ‘Z.’” In cases where you can’t find the X, Y or Z wordings that will accurately convey the meaning of the options, then use the construct “To A, say ‘X,’ To B, say ‘Y,’ To C, say ‘Z,’” where “To A” briefly explains what the option means.
System: To get your current balance, say, “Check balance;” to open a new account, say, “Open account;” to transfer funds from one account to another, say, “Transfer funds.”
6. Don’t use “Please select from the following options.”
This is a jaded phrase that needs to be retired. Just get to the point!
7. Never allow holes in your Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF or touch-tone) choices.
We say that a menu has a hole if the options presented are not sequential. A menu that offers the user the option to press 1, 2 or 4 has a hole. A menu that offers the options 1, 2 and 3 does not. Avoiding holes helps IVR systems avoid confusing users.
8. Mark their current position in the menu tree.
A simple “Main menu,” played prior to listing the menu items, will reduce user confusion as to “where” they are in the dialog. The menu position marking becomes even more important as the user is led deeper into the menu tree. When you are leading a user down a menu path, list a menu header whenever you traverse a path and then list the sub-menu options. In case of a no-input or a no-match, then list the full path prior to replaying the menu prompt.
System: Main menu: you can say, “Check balance,” “Withdraw funds” or “Transfer funds.”
User: Transfer funds.
System: Transferring funds. Which account do you want to transfer funds from? You can say, “Checking,” “Savings” or “Money market.”
System: Transferring funds from savings.
9. Avoid mixing voice and DTMF menu choices.
If your application is voice enabled, avoid cramming your menu prompts with instructions on how to pick menu items by voice and by DTMF. Avoid, for instance, wording such as “You can say, ‘Check balance’ or press 1, ‘Open account’ or press 2 or ‘Transfer funds’ or press 3.” Instead, first offer users the leaner, voice-only menu: “You can say, ‘Check balance,’ ‘Open account’ or ‘Transfer funds’”—and, only if the user seems to have trouble with it, revert to the mixed prompt: “You can say ‘Check balance’ or press 1, ‘Open account’ or press 2 or ‘Transfer funds’ or press 3.”
10. Use the same part of speech/clausal form in all listed menu options.
Be consistent so that callers aren’t confused.
System: You can say, “Balance,” “Open account” or “Transfer.”
System: You can say, “Check balance,” “Open account” or “Transfer funds.”
11. Keep your menus consistent with one another.
Once users have gotten past the first menu, make sure sub-menus only offer options that apply to them. For example: in the opening menu, you ask the user to indicate whether or not they are a registered customer and then you branch off accordingly. Make sure that after users indicate that they are a registered customer, none of the sub-menus offers options that apply only to non-registered customers (e.g., “To speak with one of our agents about becoming a registered customer, press 3”).
12. Let users ask, “What are my choices?”
At any point in the call, the user should be able to ask, “What are my choices?” In response, the system should respond by, first, positioning the user in the menu tree and then listing the menu items that the user can select from.
User: What are my choices?
System: We were transferring funds. I need to know which account you would like to transfer funds from? You can say, “Checking,” “Savings” or “Money market.”