Is Your IVR Driving Away Potential Customers?


contact-center-ivr1A recent research report by Daniel Harris, Market Research Associate, Software Advice, shows that while IVRs are central to communications in modern customer engagement centers, they are also a major pain point for customers. Specifically, a poorly designed IVR can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. In fact, a well-known study from Purdue University showed that 63% of customers reported that they would take their business elsewhere after a bad IVR experience.

This blog post recaps findings from the research and best practices on how to design a good IVR customer experience.

Design for Your Customers' Needs

The research produced these key customer considerations that any company should keep in mind when designing a new IVR application:

  1. Design for your customers’ needs, not your own. Historically the IVR has been viewed as too rigidly automated to accommodate the needs of human beings.
  2. Focus first on customer goals instead of business goals. The focus should always be on what the caller wants to accomplish.
  3. Determine the goal for your IVR. If your IVR is intended to route calls, it should be designed differently from an IVR designed for self-service.
  4. Optimize for your primary callers. Determine how your primary demographic will successfully interact with the IVR.
  5. Plan for happy customers. The goal of your IVR shouldn’t be just to reduce costs.

So What Do Your Customers Want?

So what exactly constitutes a good IVR experience? And, how do you know what your customers want? Surveying 50 Fortune 500 companies, here are eight best design practices that are included in the report:

  1. Provide the option to speak to an agent by the third menu. This practice was followed by 28% of the companies surveyed. This keeps opt out volume low but provides a way for customers to reach an agent.
  2. Limit top menu options to 5 or less. This practice was followed by 70% of the companies surveyed. This practice avoids overwhelming callers with too much information.
  3. Use 0pen-ended questions and ‘Next’ options to eliminate submenus. Followed by 54% of the companies surveyed, this structure allows for a greater number of choices or natural language selection.
  4. Keep introductions shorter than 8 seconds. While all companies surveyed use an introductory message identifying the company, a message that is too long risks boring customers.
  5. Offer dial pad response. This practice is followed by 42% of companies surveyed. Even companies that use voice recognition offer dial pad input as an option.
  6. Avoid branding statements in introductions. Even a brief branding message risks making the introduction too long.
  7. Use female voices. Research shows that the human brain prefers female voices.
  8. Avoid hanging up on customers. While such a tactic can reduce call volume, it is ultimately ill-advised for your IVR to hang up on a customer as this frustrating experience may motivate customers to take their business elsewhere.

How Cyara Can Help You Get It Right

So, given the research, can you afford to potentially drive away up to 63% of your customers due to a poor IVR experience? Cyara can help you deliver a great customer experience by optimizing your IVR application. After all, a great experience also includes such things as testing to ensure that the voice quality within the IVR is good and the IVR response time is consistent, even under peak loads.

Cyara is the market leader for omnichannel customer experience testing, discovery and monitoring and was named a 2015 Gartner Cool Vendor in CRM Customer Service and Support. Millions of flawless customer interactions are delivered every day by organizations of all sizes utilizing The Cyara Platform. Stop driving your customers away with poor customer experiences. Contact Cyara today.