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A Caller Bill of Rights? Good Idea,
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A Caller Bill of Rights? Good Idea,

November 30, 2010

  By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A Caller Bill of Rights sure sounds good, doesn’t it? Thanks to (News - Alert) for proposing one.

A quick look at a few of its proposals and excerpts from their reasoning:

Number one: The right to clear expectations about what the IRV can and can’t do. Make it clear to callers what your IVR system can help them with. If the system has a single purpose, introduce that purpose to callers clearly, upfront. If the system can do several different things, create a clear and concise menu structure that quickly educates callers about their automated choices. Whether intentional or not, many IVR systems seem to trap callers within layers upon layers of nested menus, without making it clear to callers whether or not the issue they called about is addressable by the system. While this design practice might temporarily increase containment rates, callers will eventually become frustrated and learn to distrust the IVR.

The right to know whether or not live help is available. We believe that an IVR system should not keep secrets. So, if a representative is available to help, let callers know that they have a choice to either use automation or speak with a representative for tasks that can’t be automated. We believe that over time, callers will learn to choose to use automation when it servestheir needs, rather than spending their time trying to trick the IVR into getting them to a live person, as they are often forced to do today.

The right to control the interaction. A well-designed IVR system should always make callers feel like they are in complete control of an interaction, even when the system is carefully leading callers down a path. For example, if there’s some important information that callers need to remember, the IVR should offer to wait while the caller gets a pen and paper. It should then let callers decide when to move on by telling them to say “I’m ready” when they have a pen. And it should allow the caller to decide when to repeat information and when to move on with a simple “Should I repeat that?”

The right to a consistent experience. Make sure that your IVR has a consistent feel across all applications. Do this by using consistent style and language as you craft new prompts, and by recording all prompts using a consistent voice talent and coaching style. Or, if a decision is made to deliberately use a different voice for a new piece of functionality, make sure there’s a clean handoff from one voice to the other, just like a human would hand the call off to another human.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Chris DiMarco
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