8 Characteristics of Effective IVR Prompts

eight effective IVR characteristics woman working in cafe with phone and laptopRecording informative, well-directed, and impactful IVR voice prompts is critical to creating a positive caller experience. There’s no doubt that your messaging is going to be unique to your business, your phone system, and your customers’ needs. But even so, there are eight effective IVR characteristics that all IVR scriptwriters should try to meet, regardless of your industry.

In our experience, IVR prompts that meet these particular eight criteria are demonstrably more effective in communicating to, and interacting with, individuals both in and outside of an organization.

When writing and reviewing your IVR script, ask yourself:

1. Is the Intent and meaning clearly understandable to the caller?
This seems like it should be obvious, but you would be surprised by the amount of confused (and confusing!) wording we encounter. Remember, you are guiding a caller to complete a transaction, get more information, or to complete some goal you have set for them. There should be no doubt about intent, and there should be no extraneous or vague elements in the script.

2. Does the prompt lead to an outcome that supports your caller’s objectives?
Example: if the caller wants to get a piece of paperwork filled out correctly, don’t just tell them where to get the form, tell them where to send it, how long it’ll be before it’s processed, and who to call if they have questions. Remember, it can only help your organization if you do a better job than your competitor of meeting and exceeding caller objectives.

3. Is the prompt informative and educational for the caller?
Preferably you should be imparting information that enables them to better use your product and service, beyond just getting information from callers or directing them to an agent or a resource. On the latter point, don’t just tell a caller that your website is good, but tell them an important piece from it and why it’s important to them that they go there.

4. Does your prompt emotionally connect to the caller?
A caller will respond to someone who speaks their native language. Anything other than that will be reacted to indifferently by the caller, and that’s at best. At worst, this can prove to be a complete credibility killer.

5. Is the prompt of appropriate length?
Try to avoid very long menu lists or being long-winded in general. There are of course exceptions, including financial disclosures, or legal/compliance statements.

6. Is the message delivered in a compelling and authentic manner?
Non-professionals often employ a flat, disinterested, and unprofessional delivery. The voice talent shouldn’t sound robotic. Consumer trends tell us that people respond to messaging delivered in a way that is natural and conversational, and therefore authentic. The conversation should sound like it’s one human talking to another.

7. Is your prompt attuned to cultural sensitivities?
Professional, native translators can pick up on these to avoid embarrassing cultural and linguistic miscues, of which you may not even be aware. So will a professional voice talent, if you’re not translating the script. Don’t let a non-professional do this. Also, use regional resources for the specific market – i.e., don’t let a European Spanish talent record or translate a script that will be used in Latin America.

8. Does your IVR prompt possesses high quality audio characteristics?
Only pros like us can do this, particularly our team of experts in IVR and in multiple languages. All words should be distinctly audible and clearly enunciated. This includes editing out breaths and extraneous noises, like mouth clicks and pops. Speech should be properly paced and spaced, including the heads and tails of files.

Of course, for all your IVR scripting needs, part of the Marketing Messages guarantee is that we will thoroughly review and edit your scripts before sending them out for recording. That way, you know they meet these eight effective IVR characteristics and are assured of the best messaging possible, delivered with the best audio quality imaginable.