Using IVR Without Annoying People

If your phones are frequently ringing during the day or you are getting many calls during off hours it may be time to automate customer interactions. If you do not have enough staff or knowledgeable personnel to handle the volume of phone calls your business is receiving, then utilizing an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system can improve your customer interactions and possibly reduce your overall operational expenditures.

Before exploring IVR options, you need to answer two questions from your customer’s point of view.

  1. Why are most people calling?
  2. What are most of the caller’s questions?

With this information compiled, you can design an effective IVR System. Poorly designed IVR solutions will annoy callers and have a negative impact on your business results, customer satisfaction, and public image of your company.

Properly planning IVR should be broken into three categories:

Menu options

  • Simplify the options and the words used
  • Limit the number of options offered to the caller
  • Offer the most popular options first
  • Pause between options
  • Describe the option first, then the number for the caller response
  • Give the option to press or say an option

NOTE: Don’t start off with “listen carefully as our menu items have changed.” It wastes valuable time at the beginning of the call and most callers will not remember the old options.


  • Provide navigation instructions and special function keys at the beginning of the call
  • Always give the option to press a number (not just say) – caller may be in a difficult place to speak
  • Allow users to select option at any time without waiting for the entire message
  • Verbally confirm caller choices
  • Keep a consistent default option throughout the call
  • Always provide the option to speak to a representative


  • Have a friendly voice represent the company
  • Provide alternative language options at the beginning
  • Limit the number of words used (edit carefully)
  • Use terms that callers can understand
  • If a caller selects the wrong choice, explain what information is needed

Global Link can guide you through the process of selecting the best IVR equipment and software, establishing your IVR protocol, integrating into your network/database and training your staff on the operations and functioning of this powerful business tool.

Contact us today at or 800-494-LINK for a FREE consultation.

Global Link: One Company. One Call.

  • Communications Consultation
  • Software Development
  • Project Management