HomeSoftwareHow Companies Fail With IVR Design: Six Key Pitfalls To Avoid

How Companies Fail With IVR Design: Six Key Pitfalls To Avoid

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Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

It is hard to argue that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has not enabled customers to solve queries in a faster way while simultaneously allowing companies to manage much higher call volumes. The advantages of implementing IVR systems ultimately and positively affect businesses as they allow for better customer retention and a positive brand image.

While the advantages of a correctly implemented IVR design are hard to argue against, the disadvantages of a poorly implemented design bring are catastrophic. Frustrated and angry customers, high customer attrition, negative brand image, and loss of customer goodwill are all on the cards if a company’s IVR system has been poorly implemented. What follows is a list of six key areas where IVR systems are known to fail if not properly addressed.

Too Many Options

A critical advantage to a cloud call center solution is that it empowers customers to quickly resolve issues and queries. This implies that when designing the system one of the main aims is to then provide a system defined by ease of use principles. If customers find the system easy to use and navigate then they can quickly find what they need to solve any problem they may have.

The more options you have the less likely it is that customers will find the system easy to navigate. Too many options also create a delay in the time taken to resolve a call which in turn generates higher call volumes and customer dissatisfaction. As a general rule limit your main options menu to five selections complete with responses providing customers with relevant information. The less is more rule most certainly applies to IVR options menus.

You Don’t Choose Voice Talent Carefully

When looking at the cost of implementing IVR those who control the purse strings will and often need, to save on costs where possible. This often leads business leaders to use employees as voice talent and using low-quality recording solutions. This can backfire in several ways often resulting in confusing menus and instructions.

By choosing to go with professional voice talent recorded in a professional setting the disadvantages mentioned above can be avoided. Another factor to consider is that if done professionally the system will appear far more humanized resulting in greater customer satisfaction.

Repetitive Messages and Music While On-Hold

For customer bases across the globe being placed on hold with elevator music and promotional content repeated ad nausea is not soothing. It is frustrating and can drive customers to anger which will be taken out on the brand in some form or the other.

A solution to driving customers away in this method is to rather inform them of an estimated time when a call center agent will attend to their call.

No Call-Back Option

Even the most robust and well-designed IVR system will experience high call volumes where the company cannot meet the needs of certain customers who call. This results in the customer not finding the solution to their need and having to call back later if they have not lost their sanity.

This is not an ideal situation but can be remedied by allowing for a callback option. This can further be customized to be scheduled by the customer at a specific time. This avoids several pitfalls and can have a positive influence on sales and customer satisfaction.

Using Data to Catch Angry or Frustrated Callers

Despite doing everything in the company’s power to keep customers happy and returning for business, there will be customers frustrated and angry calling for assistance. They are already frustrated, the last thing that is needed is that they are bombarded with options that lead them no closer to a solution.

Systems can be tuned slightly to collect small data points that will help filter frustrated callers and redirect them to an agent that can help. By providing personalized options that include a range of services to fit even the angry caller’s needs. These can further be refined to provide self-service options which result in faster calls and better dispute resolution.

Badly Placed Promotions

There is often a temptation to place promotional content and advertisements in the IVR system as it is believed they will reach a wider audience. This temptation should be avoided as customers are often calling for a specific reason. You do not want to keep customers on the line for longer than necessary and badly placed promotional content does exactly that.


The implementation of IVR systems has risen due to customer expectations also changing to demand better service. IVR is uniquely placed as a technology to continually meet these changing expectations, however, if poorly implemented customer expectations will not be met. This has numerous disadvantages including an increase in Hello Peter complaints.