‘Visit Our Website’ and Other IVR Messages To Wreck Your CX

‘Visit Our Website’ and Other IVR Messages To Wreck Your CX

When it comes to IVR, contact centers walk a fine line.

On the one hand, it can be one of the fastest, cheapest and most useful ways to provide service.

On the other hand, it can be annoying. Very, very annoying.

Today, we’re going to look at the IVR messages customers most dislike – and what you should be saying and doing instead.

4 IVR messages to wreck CX

#1 Why not visit our website?

It has become very common to invite callers to check the company website for help.

The appeal is obvious; if you’ve created a really good set of FAQs, you’ll want to tell the world.

Plus, if you convince just 100 callers to hang up and try the website… that’s 100 fewer callers for you to deal with.

So what’s the problem?

It’s the 21st century. Your customers are familiar with the idea of online FAQs – most of them would probably prefer that option.

In fact, over half of all callers have already tried the website with success. 

Of course you want users to try self-service. But once they’re on the line, it might be too late to push that option!

Yes, you might get some callers off the phone. But is that really worth annoying and frustrating everyone else?

customer frustation


Do this instead!

Don’t just tell customers that there are other options – put those options front and center.

We’re talking about well-integrated, multichannel service.

Why not send your callers an SMS containing a link to useful resources like FAQs and automated webchat? Or just use two-way SMS service to talk to them?  

You could even put customers in a webchat with a live agent, direct from IVR. So long as you have a decent integration strategy, any data they’ve already provided will follow them across channels.

Anything is better than telling them to try their luck online!

(Want to manage customers like the pros? Read our post on managing a contact center queue like Disney!)

#2 We value your call

Put simply, you want your customers to feel valued. But they might have to wait a while, and they might be annoyed about a problem.

So how are you going to reassure them? Simple – you just tell them that you value them!

Easy as that… right?

So what’s the problem?

The first problem is that every business says this same thing. The words don’t really mean anything now.

But the far bigger problem is this: what you’re saying doesn’t match what you’re doing.

You and I know that resourcing a contact center is a tough balancing act. Sometimes there will be delays.

But customers don’t see it that way. If you don’t put them through to an agent – if you don’t let them past your IVR – they imagine that you don’t value them at all.

Customer IVR


Do this instead!

First: do everything on this list!

(I know that seems like a cheat answer – but varied and high-quality service is the best way to shows callers that they’re valued.)

Second: embrace priority routing.

Priority routing means creating a more direct path for certain customers. They’ll reach their intended resource – generally an agent – more quickly.

Does this show all customers that you value them? No. For obvious reasons, you can’t make everybody a priority.

But you can speed up service for the customers who need it most. 

They might be your most faithful, your biggest spenders or your most likely to churn; whatever you base priority routing on, it can go a long way towards making customers feel valued.

Around half of customers expect special treatment in return for their loyalty, and this is a strong way to provide it. 

(Priority routing is also a big step towards personalizing your service. Read more about personalized service.) 

#3 Our lines are very busy right now

Every contact center has its peak times. It’s just a fact of life.

And if callers are going to be stuck on hold for a long time, isn’t it best to let them know?

Added bonus – if you tell them that your lines are busy, they might give up and go away!

And anything that keeps people off the phones is welcome, isn’t it?

So what’s the problem?

You say ‘our lines are very busy’. Customers hear ‘we don’t provide a very good service’.

That’s not the only problem. 

You’re not giving the customer enough information to make an informed choice. What does ‘very busy’ mean? Should they give up? Will they get cut off if they stay on the line?

Again, think about the customer’s perspective. Didn’t you expect people to call? Why don’t you have enough staff to help me?

(Or, as a contact center colleague once wondered aloud: why do so many people have to call up when we’re busy?)

Do this instead!

Just tell them how long the wait is!

Your SLA might say that ‘very busy’ means a four-minute wait. But a customer who expects a four-minute wait is… well, not excited but at least prepared.

Will some of your customers hang up? Sure – but there are always going to be some customers who abandon. 

Better they do it right away than hold on for ten minutes getting mad!

Customers want this information. In fact, one third say it’s what they most want to hear from your IVR. 

(Having trouble with call abandonment? Read our post on reducing abandoned calls.) 

#4 You may want to call back later

Perhaps your customers just don’t realize that they’ve called at a peak time? If they called much earlier or later they might not have to queue at all.

It’s exactly what you want – no peaks or troughs but smooth, consistent call volume.

Why not tell them to try again later! What’s the worst that could happen?

So what’s the problem?

Calling a contact center generally isn’t a highlight in anyone’s day. In fact, it’s a chore.

And once you commit to completing your chores, don’t you want to make some kind of progress?

Besides, let’s think about this from a pure, customer service perspective. A customer has a problem, and they call for a solution. And your response is to say… go away?

Do this instead!

Call’em back!

Ok, more detail. Explain the current queue time and offer them an alternative – an outbound call.

Virtual queuing is an ever more popular contact center service. Customers are fully behind this idea, and three-quarters use this option when it’s provided.  

The benefit to them is clear. They won’t get served faster but at least they don’t have to waste that time on hold.

There’s a massive benefit for you too, beyond the big increase in CSat. You get to flatten those difficult peaks and move more calls into your quiet times!

What’s our conclusion? Clearly, you need a high level of control over your processes so you can test and evolve them quickly. What’s the best IVR flow for your customers?

That’s for you to find out! 

Did you know – under one-quarter of contact centers enjoy full design collaboration over their own processes? 

We think that’s… nuts!

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