by Allison Smith @voicegal

You Wouldn’t Want Just Anyone to Warm Up Your Audience, Would You?

I have never attended a concert where the warm-up band wasn’t completely, 100% suited to the main act. Warm-up bands are chosen for their similarity, their cohesiveness, and their compatibility with the headliner. No headlining band allows just any unknown applicant to be their warm-up band. That starting act has to set the tone for what the mainstage act will be like.

And so it should be with your IVR and how it prepares callers for your Call Center Experience. Callers make decisions about the company often straight out of the gate – the minute the call is connected and they are preliminarily “sorted” by the IVR. I t is critical that your IVR “plays nice” with your callcenter identity and sets the tone inanappropriate way. The risks of not being aware of the identity created by the IVR is perilous and can erode the precious relationship between your customers and your call center interactions.

Let’s take the cue from rock bands everywhere, who would never take the stage without first….

Knowing Their Audience

Who is the average customer, what do they want, and why are they calling, as opposed to solving their issue online? It is pivotal that the IVR that precedes live Call Center Contact is delivered in a way that reflects the demographic of who is calling, the reason that they’re likely to be calling, and what their ultimate goal is likely to be from the Call Center Staffer they’re about to interact with.

Never Insulting the Audience’s Intelligence or Talking Down to Them

I’ve had the opportunity to call a couple of call centers recently. I have noticed a couple of popular trends which I think are smarmy, insincere, and need to disappear now. Whether you’re talking about the honey-coated: “May I ask who I have the pleasure of speaking with today….? or the often-heard mock-concern statements (usually read in a deadpan voice): “I’m deeply sorry you’re having problems with our product. That must be very disappointing for you. I’m going to work hard to find you a solution today.”These statements sound hollow,disingenuine,and very….scripted. I firmly believe that call center Staff – who have a difficult job in the front lines of customer service – should rely less on scripting and more on actual human cues to respond to customers questions/concerns in a more natural way. The IVR they listen to – for basic, low-level service – before they get to a live agent – should also be free of insincerity, and should project an air that the customer’s query is important and serious – and that the Call Center genuinely cares.

Making Sure Nobody Walks Out

It goes without saying: nobody sticks around if they’re not having a great time, if they perceive that their time is being wasted, or that they’re not valued. If someone is expecting a MegaDeth experience from a James Taylor concert, they’re going to be disappointed. Tracking call drop-offs during the initial IVR servicing phase of a caller’s experience will tell a call center a great deal abouthow well or not well the IVR system is working. IVR detailed information is also tracked natively within modern call center monitoring suites like Loway’s QueueMetrics. IVR paths are examined in total (as the sum of all choices made by the caller) and for each IVR path, the choices made on that path.

QueueMetrics for example analyzes for each path the number of calls traversing it, the IVR goals reached immediately after that path, the success rate, as the percentage of goals on all calls that entered the menu, the number of hang-ups made in that IVR menu, the attrition rate, as the number of hang-ups versus total number of calls and much more.


Through the analysis you see that – customer-facing-service – whether it’s the IVR, or the actual call center call – can almost always be faster, with fewer options, and an unceasing attention to the idea that the caller’s time – and patience – is likely much shorter than you think.

Treat Everybody as Though They’re Annoyed

…because they probably are. I try to get clients of mine – when they’re wondering what to include in their IVR – to keep in mind one basic truism: that callers have probably already been to the company’s website. Their question or issue is probably so specific; so particular – or so messy – that they need to talk to a live human about it. If you think of the IVR as that incredible warm-up band – greeting the caller with an instant, genuine connection – the service that they receive from the main act – namely, your call center staff – will be cohesive, and most importantly: a consistent, seamless brand identity will be maintained throughout the whole caller experience.

Allison Smith The IVR Voice

Allison Smith is an internationally recognized professional voice talent, specializing in IVR recordings. She is a female voice over artist with professional experience and offers a wide range of professional recording services.


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