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IVR Greeting Prompts

June 15, 2010

Have you noticed that virtually all Company Voice Portal greeting prompts reference their Web Site? The reference is a statement that says you can get more information or perform an action by going online. But, is that always the best way?

Today I contacted a company to get clarification on returning a defective part that has been recalled. I needed to talk to an agent because I had received an envelope that was previously opened. It may have included the replacement part but none of the documentation noted that it was enclosed. The only written information provided indicated that I could return the defective part in the return envelope enclosed.

I called their 800 number and the greeting contained a reference to their web site. After identifying the number as the recall hotline, the voice prompt said the following: ”For your convenience you can access our website at http://www.company.com/safetynotifice “that’s w w w . c o m p a n y . c o m forward-slash s a f e t y n o t i c e”. The web site was spelled out very slowly so that the caller could write the information down. The whole greeting prompt took 36 seconds and the reference to the web site took 28 of those 36 seconds.

I understand that servicing a customer through the web site is much less expensive than via a telephone or agent. Many companies offshore their chat agents and each agent has multiple chat sessions occurring at a time. It’s a very cost effective contact method. However, I would argue that the person is calling a company because that is the only contact method available at the time or their issue is such that the caller thinks the most efficient contact method is via a verbal interaction with an agent. I would also contend that most computer literate people know that an alternative contact method is available at the company’s web site and it can be easily found via a search engine such as Bing or Google.

Do companies realize they are wasting significant money by referencing their web site in a voice portal greeting? In my example the company wasted 77% of their time trying to get me to go to their website when I had no intention of doing so. I’d suggest that they should instead put that web information deeper in the call flow so that it does not slow down a caller’s voice interaction with an agent. In this instance, the customer experience was diminished by the push for web use, rather than enhanced with efficient, effective customer service. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all your points of contact, you’ll utilize each to its full potential.

Look to the folks at Walsh Media to provide common sense advice to your voice portal prompts.

Steven Sands, PMP
Director of Business Development
(630) 574-8008, Ext 364
steve@walshmedia.com

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