The two most common types of voice message prompts that you will likely need to utilize are Interactive Voice Response (or IVR) prompts and Auto Attendant (or AA) prompts. Today, we’re going to explain the differences in what these prompts are, and how they can best be used. IVR prompts and AA prompts are both extremely important for not only customer-facing voice messages, but for internal use as well.
IVR prompts can best be distinguished by the “interactive” part of their name. These recordings are used to assist callers to access information and navigate through your phone system without having to talk with an individual responder.
When a customer calls in and is informed that they need to say out loud the name of the department they want to reach, or the person they need to find, that recording they interact with is an IVR prompt.
While IVR prompts can serve any number of purposes and functions for both external and internal calls, we have found that they are especially effective during times of high call volume. Because these prompts require pauses and gaps to allow for different options and for customer interaction, the scripts will often be cut up into isolated phrases that technicians will then assemble into functional menus.
Because of this, it is important that IVR prompts be recorded with professional voice over talents who will maintain consistent inflection and flow even as they are recording in bits and pieces.
Auto Attendant prompts serve a similar function, but there are some extremely important differences that distinguish one from the other. Auto Attendant voice recordings are used to greet customers and distribute them to different recipients within an organization. AA prompts are most commonly identifiable as phone tree menus, identifiable as your classic, “Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that” format.
The major difference between the two kinds of prompts is the ultimate function they will be used to serve. AA prompts act as a virtual receptionist and are generally utilized to deliver a caller to an appropriate human agent who will then take over the call, whereas a well-designed IVR system can satisfy all of a customer’s questions and needs without ever needing to utilize another person on the phone.
Each kind of prompt has its own positives and negatives, depending on how your business needs to operate. If your company experiences high rates of callers, it will make sense to utilize the automation of IVR prompts, which can handle as many callers a day as needed without worrying about running out of agents, or those agents running out of energy. However if you expect reasonable levels of call volume, it might be a better fit to utilize AA prompts that will simply guide callers to human recipients who can then provide one-on-one responses as needed.
For both IVR prompts and AA prompts, our advice remains always to use professional voice talents rather than trying to record and edit your own messages. By using experienced professionals, you can make sure that no matter what messages you are providing for your customer, they will have been crafted with care, practice, and an eye (and ear!) for detail.