IVR Recordings

The top 5 mistakes when implimenting IVR Messages

We create a lot of IVR menus for some very reputable companies, but you’d be surprised at how many companies don’t have comprehensive and easy to navigate menus, before they find IVR Recordings of course.

I’m sure you’ll have a few companies in mind who could really do with simplifying their current menu. Usually larger companies need IVR menus because their call handlers cover many different aspects of their company, with a lot of departments comes a lot of options and usually a lot of confusion.

We can think of plenty of ways to improve your current IVR System or give you some pointers to consider if you’re thinking of getting some recordings. In our opinion these are the top five mistakes made in IVR recordings.

Options Overload

Calling a company takes time, if there’s a long introduction at the start of your IVR, it is time to consider cutting it down. The issue is you’re providing a lot of irrelevant information to someone who might know exactly what department they need to speak to, especially if they have called before, forcing your caller to endure a two minute spiel that likely infuriates them before they’ve even reached your menu. We’d advise to only really have the necessary bits and bobs in the welcome message, after all it should be just that, welcoming! Avoid including your company history here as this is best saved for your on hold messaging.

Massive Menus

Your menu should be really straight forward with clear directions for the caller so they know exactly what to select. Having a simple IVR menu will save you time and money, meaning calls are directed to the right department first time, rather than having your customer passed from one department to the next which not only takes time for your employees but leaves your customer feeling like they’ve been passed from pillar to post. We’d ask you to consider where your options eventually lead to, if more than one option leads to the same department then merge them!

No Exit

It’s a familiar story, you need to make an important call but know you’ll be placed on hold so try to do so on your lunch hour or after work. When a customer takes time to contact your business, your IVR system should reassure them immediately that they’re query is going to be resolved quickly and hassle free. There’s nothing worse than calling somewhere and missing the options, either resulting in a panicked press of the wrong option in the vain hope it was the right one (likely wasting time when they get through to the wrong department and have to be transferred) or it means the caller has to hang up and re-dial. This could all be resolved by one last message, to hear the options again.

Melancholy Music

Call us bias but we hate rubbish on hold music. No matter how big or small your company is, you should come across as professional, particularly when the first point of contact your customer has with your business is through your phone system. Playing a muffled recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons into your callers’ poor ears for twenty minutes doesn’t quite give off that image. We’ve got a range of music available to suit lots of different types of business. Do you think it’s time to change track yet?

IVR Journey

Finally the most important point we’d like mention is that your IVR is never finished, you need to keep it up to date, interesting and relevant to the direction your business is taking. Managing your IVR system is really important, if you don’t think any of the mistakes above apply to your current system then we’d advise you to take the customer’s journey and call your company to listen first hand and see how easy your options are to navigate. This should highlight any areas to you that you think could be improved and simplified for your customers. Once you’ve done that, it’ll be time for you to give us a call!

How IVR Has Developed

Despite not quite being where Back to the Future predicted we would be at this point in time (or yesterday to be exact), it’s fair to say that technology has developed at an astonishing rate, with some inventions that have completely changed the way we interact and socialise in modern day.

We often take for granted the ease of the taking a picture, making a call and checking our emails all on one device, when once upon a time you’d have needed three separate ones. Now we’re able to call a company and without even speaking to an operator we can get to the person we need.

The first electronic speech synthesiser was created in 1936, so speech recognition is nothing new. Following on from rapid developments and growth in the telephone industry the Bell System (a continuation of Alexander Graham Bell’s work) unveiled a system which could dial dual tone, multi-frequency audible tones, this was in 1962.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) was to change the way call centres and businesses operate and connect with their customers, serving as a bridge between the customer and the company to direct them to the most suitable place. Brian Bischoff (who was once a part of AT&T which eventually became the Bell System’s parent company) highlighted how the development of the internet hasn’t dented the popularity of speaking on the phone “Is Web traffic up? Yes, definitely. Is phone traffic down? No, not really”

IVR has developed along the way to become more accurate, less sensitive to background noise and much easier to navigate nowadays. There are several options available to those using IVR.

·Natural Language; After a prompt is read the customer responds as though talking to a human

Touch Tone; The customer can either make their selection by pressing a number on their phone or by saying the option they want

Directed Dialogue; This works by the customer using keywords to access the department they wish to speak to.

The aim for IVR has always been to improve customer service, refining the speed and ease at which customers can reach their desired department or contact. Technology has developed to allow IVR systems to detect and understand a range of accents, vocabularies and pronunciations. There’s less need to enunciate each individual word when prompted, meaning if an IVR system was to use natural language, the response of the caller could be an unbroken sentence of continuous speech.

IVR technology has developed so far that gone are the days of trying to book cinema tickets for a specific film and time and ending up with the complete opposite of your request. Gone are the days of even needing to speak to someone to pay a bill. IVR has developed so far that thousands of tasks are performed using the tech every day, from placing an order to tracking it, paying a bill, using a directory to reach a specific contact, checking schedules, the list goes on!

With the IVR industry spanning decades, improving rapidly and being available in our pockets in the form of Siri, Cortana and OK Google it’s no wonder the industry is worth £14 Billion annually in revenue and growing at a very healthy 10.7%!

Sources:

http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/CRM-News/CRM-Featured-News/The-Phone-Refuses-to-Die-48996.aspx

http://virtual-call-center.eu/blog/2015/06/12/history-of-ivr-interactive-voice-response-part-1

http://www.eckoh.com/resources/blog/journey-speech-recognition-ivr/

What makes a good IVR Script?

We love it when clients ask us this question because it shows they care about the customer experience. What makes a good IVR script is a very good question to ask because the language you use, the length of each messages and how you structure the overall call flow can make or quite literally break your callers experience.

IVR scripts should get right to the point and be as short as possible

Your callers want to speak to a human being as quickly as possible so writing lengthy IVR prompts that delay being connected to a real agent is only going to cause frustration.

Keep each prompt as short as possible while still giving the caller all the relevant information and try to reduce the number of options if possible to keep the caller moving through the IVR system.

The script needs to be congruent with your brand

This is all down to your use of language. Corporate companies such as insurance firms, banks and legal practices should most probably adopt a formal approach to instil confidence and reassure callers. Companies in creative industries might opt for a more informal style script to match their brand.

Think about what happens when/if the caller enters a call queue

You might think once a caller has been guided to a department that's the end of the script but what happens if the caller has to wait to speak to an agent and enters the call queue? What do they hear? Silence? Music? Their position in the queue?

At the very least you should have a music track that matches your brand to keep callers engaged and ideally you should have music and voice messages to give out relevant information. For example if a caller needs their account number remind them whilst they’re in the call queue so they can have all the information to hand.

For callers in a support call queue you can tell them where to find answers to frequently asked questions.

Taking the time to fully map out each call flow and IVR script will have a positive impact on your caller’s experience.

So there you have it our top tips to help you create a great IVR Script.

Still need some help? Then get in touch, call 0161 850 3033 we offer a free 20 minute IVR Script consultation.

Thinking of recording your own IVR Messages in-house?

Here are 5 points to consider before recording your IVR Messages in-house...

We get a lot of ‘how hard can it be to record our own messages…?’  Well, in truth, not only can it be hard in the sense of getting the right intonations and personality in your recordings, but it can also be hard on your company’s purse strings. Recording IVR messages in-house may seem like a good idea or a cheaper option, but like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!  You, or one of your valued employees, could have the best personality in the world, a first class drama degree, or just simply like the sound of their own voice, but we often find that once faced with the prospect of laying down audio in a recording studio, they don’t quite have what it takes to give the company the sound you’re looking for.

If you want to go down the route of using an employee to record your IVR messages here are five points to consider first:

1. Having a 'nice voice' is not enough; you have to know how to use it!

Professional voiceovers take years to hone their skill to enable them to know where inflections should be used in a script, while still sounding natural so the finished recording doesn’t sound forced. Unless the employee you’re considering using has this level of experience then the finished audio will not engage callers in the most positive way, so the finished messages are highly unlikely to be the same quality as using a professional voiceover.

 

2. How will the recording sound?

If you are going to use an employee to record your IVR Prompts, where, when and how will you do the recording? You could set up in a corner of the office or the boardroom but how much background noise is there? How long will it take to record every single prompt into the system then check over to ensure what has been recorded matches the script and is correct? When will you find the time to record? Wouldn’t you and or your employee be more productive doing your normal job, because it’s likely to take a while to record even the shortest of scripts, which brings us on to…

 

3. How long will the recording process take and what’s the real cost?

This fact is often overlooked. A professional voiceover will record an IVR script far quicker than an inexperienced wannabe! This means your employee could take all day to record a 500 word script correctly, something which a professional voiceover would have done in under an hour. This is compounded if you’re using a professional recording studio as you’ll be paying an hourly rate for studio hire. The longer it takes to get the script ‘in the can’ the longer the editing process will take removing all the fault starts or worse piecing together the best bits of several different takes, wastes precious studio time and costs money! So much so that the dramatic increase in studio hire costs can often outweigh the cost of hiring a professional voiceover artist in the first place.

Of course you can record at your premises but the quality will be nowhere near as good as a professional studio.

 

4. How often do you need updates?

Our professional voiceovers are in the studio most days so when a new IVR prompt needs recording we can usually turn it around in 24 - 48 hours. If your employee records in-house then if they’re not in the office this can delay important updates. If you’re using a recording studio, your employee will have to travel to a studio to record which increases lead times further.

 

5. What happens if the employee leaves the company?

At best they're unlikely to be willing or able to record new IVR prompts when needed. 

At worst they may ask for all the IVR recordings to be completely removed from the system, especially if they are moving on to a competitor.

This then creates a dilemma for you – to re-record or not to re-record? If you decide to take the plunge and re-record your entire set of messages, the aforementioned processes and stumbling blocks once more rear their ugly heads, and you will probably be left wishing you’d just bitten the bullet and recorded with a professional voiceover in the first place!

It’s also worth noting that voiceover work is probably outside the scope of an employee’s contract of employment so they may look for remuneration for their additional work.

 

We outlined the benefits of using a professional voiceover artist to record your IVR prompts in September last year click here to take a look.

If you have any questions or queries we’re always happy to discuss projects call us on 0161 850 3033.

Optimising recordings for use on IVR Systems

An often over looked part of the IVR recording process is mastering the finished audio.

Once the session recording has been cut up and saved as individual files, it's essential that these files are checked for accuracy; this includes checking each file against the approved IVR script, volume matching each file and them optimising for use on the IVR system. 

How we optimise IVR Messages for use on your IVR System...

Volume Matching

We volume match each IVR file so you don't geT BIG CHANGES IN SOUND LEVel when played back on your IVR system. Ensuring volume consistency across the entire system makes the whole IVR experience a much more pleasurable one. 

File Optimisation

Matching your new IVR messages to the required file specification for your IVR system is a must, otherwise the voice prompts will be too loud, too quiet or even distorted when played down the line to callers.

We've worked with a wide range of IVR systems and as long as we know the file specification we can optimise your IVR prompts to sound their best.

If you want to hear the difference a professionally recorded IVR message can make to your system then request your free demo recording today.

 

by Steve Hindley you can find Steve on Google+

The benefits of Professionally Recorded IVR Telephone Prompts

In business image is everything nowadays, and professionally recorded IVR messages can enhance your brand. After your website, the phone is usually the first point of contact with customers so it pays to make the right first impression.

If you’re utilising an Interactive Voice Response system, what impression is it giving callers?

The main benefits of using Professionally Recorded IVR Messages:

Experienced Voices - We hand pick only the best voice talent based on their experience and ability, the voice artists we work with have years of experience and are able to deliver consistent sounding IVR Prompts. Callers can instantly spot a professional voiceover which creates the right first impression for your company.

 

Consistent Sound - Our voiceovers are very good at matching their delivery style to your brand values, is able to bring your IVR Script to life and create the right mood for your telephone system. When you come to record message updates in the future your chosen voiceover will be able to match the new and old messages perfectly - your callers will never tell the difference.

 

High Quality Audio - Having your IVR Messages recorded in a fully soundproofed voice booth with a microphone worth over £1,000 ensures high quality sound, without distracting background noise. You might think that it’s not worth going to all that effort when the finished recordings will be used on the phone (yes you’re right the phone network doesn't provide great quality) but if you start with a recording that has background noise and is unclear, this will be magnified when listening back to it on the phone.

 

Professional Editing - If you record your own IVR Messages it’s usually done straight into the telephone system which means you have no editing control. What you record is what you get; there’s no chance to edit out breaths, pops, clicks and background noise, all of which are distracting for callers and doesn’t create the right impression. Audio editing requires a tuned ear and technical skills to provide a polished batch of IVR Prompts, which all match perfectly.

 

In short if you’re serious about attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, then taking the time and effort to improve your IVR Prompts it a must.

 

 

by Steve Hindley you can find Steve on Google+

Not all IVR Systems are customer facing

Over the past few months we have seen a rise in the number of IVR Messages being used for internal communications typically HR and IT Helpdesks.

Larger organisations with thousands of employees need to operate efficient systems for dealing with queries and an IVR system with professionally recorded IVR Messages can help internal departments control their workflow.

Professionally recording IVR Messages shows employees you've taken time to think about their experience as well as the customer experience.

 

by Steve Hindley you can find Steve on Google+

What are IVR Voice Prompts?

Quite simply IVR voice prompts are the spoken messages you hear when calling an automated telephone system.


When you call your bank, utility company, insurance broker, hotel chain...in fact with most large companies who provide customer service or ordering functions over the phone you're likely to be greeted by an IVR system which plays a number of IVR voice prompts, giving you the option to go through to different departments.


Who records these IVR prompts?

We do! We have a range of professional voice overs who have many years recording everything from TV and radio commercials to corporate narration and of course IVR prompts.

Why are IVRs used so much?If well designed and implemented properly (with of course professionally recorded IVR message prompts) IVR systems can improve call handling for not just companies but also clients by delivering callers to the correct department quickly and efficiently.

To discuss our IVR Prompt Recording Service and how an IVR system could improve your call handling efficiency give us a call on 0800 0112 123.

 

How many levels does your IVR Menu have?

If your IVR takes callers more than four layers into the IVR Menu System then you're probably upsetting your callers and causing extra stress when all they want to do it talk to you.

This might sound like we're talking ourselves out of a work but it's also our job to help clients to rationalise and simplify their IVR System so it works for callers.

So let us take your maze of IVR options and sub menus and work our magic.

Your callers and customers will love you for it!

Call us on 0800 0112 123 or email enquiry@IVR-Recordings.co.uk to get started.