After the strategic tips on customer experience, let’s return to the plain ground with a specific topic: that equally loved and hated entelechy, the IVR. The big challenge when designing an IVR solution is how to distribute the information in the flow. What according to the information architecture we could call accessibility, that is, the degree of complexity with which users will access the indicated option. Who can deny that much of our customers’ experience today depends on the IVR application?
1) Focus on the initial menu
Unique entry point to the application, the main menu conditions everything else. According to its design, it is or is not a valid solution or alternative for users. You can easily check this with KPIs or performance indexes, from abandonment rate, callback rate, navigation analysis in different menus, to the rate of failed transfers.
Best practices indicate that the number of options per menu should not exceed the magic number of 4, so, consider a strategy where most of the functionalities are represented (or implicitly mentioned). Not only in the categories of the menu, but also in the words that describe them (what finally will be heard).
2) Set a volume criteria
Another metric to take into account to design the main menu is the amount of demand that each IVR option has. Always consider that these options can be included in a category that encompasses them, without significantly losing their demand. Categories can have a higher or lower level of specificity. It can be a concept that extends or defines many components as «changes», or simply a category that is what it says, for example: «balance». Then you must decide the location based on whether the category is more or less specific. Options like «balance» will be in the top positions, and options like «changes» will be in the last ones. The premise is clear: the options that may be included within others must be heard first.
3) Don’t forget to put the scheme «on a napkin»
In the initial menu it has to be more or less summarized the functionality of the entire service. Making a case of previous use will help you locate the essential features. These categories can be from greater to less concretion (or intentionality). There can be from «make changes» to «registrations».
4) People recognize words
The categories or genres that you are going to use have to be translated into concrete terms of everyday use for people. You must discard the technical names used internally in your company for processes, etc. Thus, it will be necessary to make the effort to verbalize what has previously been done with categories. This that seems trivial is the most difficult. Obviously, it is not necessary that the menus or the structure coincide neither with departments, nor with groups of people. Each point of the dialogue will route the call or to one or the other.