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Importance of script writing in IVR system

IVR system is not just a clubbing together of state of the art CTI boards, high end servers, very easy to drag and drop tool design IVR call flow for flexibility. One of the saddest part about IVR development is, the users may not appreciate about these technological break-through like SS7, ISUP, CPA ( Call Progress Analysis), accuracy and speed of speech recognition or the or intricacies involved in detecting disconnect tone, engage tone.

They simply care about what menus they hear and if the options they press or speak works! They are least bothered about the hard work some one may have put in to detect her key presses, or recognise heavily accented English numerals, but only if the IVR retrieves the information it promised in its menu. The appreciate only when they can understand the information read out to her listening first time without having to press a key to listen again!

It may not be possible to satisfy all the users of an IVR system, but by using well scripted menus in simple language and intelligently constructed sentences may surely help majority of the people to use IVR system without having to learn the IVR before using it.

The answer to all these problems faced by IVR users and making IVR more useful and user friendly is ‘scripting of the IVR menus’! Script writing for IVR means, writing the IVR menu options in simplest language, well formed sentence so that the listener understands the message accurately without having to concentrate.

IVR scripting can be used in three areas to improve IVR usability:-

1. Scripting the menus
2. Dividing complex menus to simple sub menus
3. Scripting the phrases used for providing information

1. Scripting the Menus

This is quite straight forward. The menu options where IVR gives some options to the IVR user to either press telephone keys, or speak some word or phrase, should be properly scripted. Accuracy of the options is of course a must and forgone conclusion. For example, if the menu says, “To transfer your call to a customer care executive, please press 9”, then on pressing 9 by the caller, the IVR should transfer the call to customer care executive, not to the main menu!

2. Dividing complex menus

Script writers will divide complex options or large options will divide into some groups, and make it two level menus, in place of one. This will not only help first time callers, but also make it more user friendly faster with using ‘cut through’ key pressing!

3. Scripting phrases

Now a days, IVR has to retrieve many information from various locations through either database look up or by using API. Also, it may have retrieve information in bits and pieces from different servers, then knit them together, and then finally produce a sentence which would present a complete required message/information to the IVR user! Now that may not be easy for an IVR engineer! So, one must use a professional script writer for writing these phrases either to be recorded or used with TTS.

Without proper scripts used in IVR menus and in information, IVR will not be usable at all, even by expert IVR users! It will be very frustrating for users and all the great technologies used to design and develop IVR system will completely go waste!

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • KO October 18, 2010, 8:24 pm

    Undoubtedly this is an important area to focus in. I read a research paper that reported that a company who tightened wordy prompts and removed irrelevant information from its IVR experienced a call duration reduction of 20 seconds per call which resulted into $175,000 of savings per year.
    Scripting the menus requires understanding what tasks that the callers need to accomplish. Getting this kind of information maybe cumbersome but it guarantees the usefulness of the IVR system. Even if you can’t do this kind of research in advance, testing the system with a subset of users and then adjusting the menus based on their feedback is a good best practice to adopt.
    The example of a company saving money by reviewing their IVR menus and prompts brings forth another point: analyze how your IVR performs (# of calls, duration, # of dropped calls, where in the IVR do people drop off) and make adjustments.

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