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FREQUENTLY OVERLOOKED PROBLEMS IN IVR APPLICATIONS

These are many small, but important design problems one often tends to overlook. I have tried to list them all. Kindly send me feedback if you have encountered any such problems. In a DTMF Based Menu Following are the frequently overlooked problems :->

1. Long Menu
Be it DTMF Driven menu or Voice driven menu, long menu with many options should be avoided. The maximum menu options should be 5. ( Maximum 7 in unavoidable cases. ) Long menu tires a caller out and it becomes very difficult for caller to remember the options too. Also if a caller’s required option is played at the last of the menu( for example 9th option in the menu, one has to hear out first 8 options before hearing the 9th option.), it becomes really irritating.

2. Long Period of Silence
Long period of silence at any case should be avoided. Maximum allowable silence period should be 3 Seconds. After that a proper timeout message should be played.

3. Rejection of key pressing during prompt playing.
It is often noticed that IVR ignores the key pressed while it is playing menu options. This should be avoided. Specially while playing a long menu of 4 and above options. During playing prompts too, keys pressed by caller should be accepted and processed accordingly.

4. Hang Up calls
IVRS should never hang up the call at any condition. Its like slamming the phone on you! You cause enough pain already by making a human interact with a machine, so it will be worthwhile that machine does not hang up on the human!

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5. Scripting of IVR Prompts
Scripting of IVR menus and any information should be properly written. Many people do not give enough importance in scripting their information. Scripts like You have pressed a wrong key, You have failed to press a key in time, etc. should eb avoided.

6. Confusing and illogical presentation of Information
All information given by IVRS should be brief, to-the-point, in simple english and complete. Unnecessary jargons should be avoided.

7. Failure recovery
On failure of accessing any data from a database or online information, IVR should inform politely to the caller.

8. Unprofessional Voice
Cheap sounding and unprofessionaly recorded, low quality voice should be avoided. One should always get prompts recorded by professional voice artist. Background music should be added only when the situation demands or service requires it.

In a Voice Driven Menu:-

9. In a Voice Driven menu the menu tends to be extra focussing on entertaining the caller, rather than providing service required by him.

10. Attempt to have a conversation with caller should be avoided. Even though ASR technology works fine, still it can not have a conversation with a human.

11. Avoid having excessive human like Interface.

12. Avoid playing prompts as soon as call is connected. Give some silence or play some music for small duration.

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