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Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

Interactive voice response (IVR) is one of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and boost the productivity of a contact center.

The automated system plays a critical role in handling high call volumes and responding to customer inquiries. It contributes to several aspects of business growth, including client retention and developing a solid brand image.

However, committing some mistakes when designing IVR systems can derail your efforts to prioritize customer experience and boost return on investment.

Take time to ensure that all the components of your IVR are optimized for maximum benefit before launching your pay-per-call campaigns.

Here are the top 20 common IVR mistakes you should avoid to increase conversions.

1. Too Many Menu Options

Avoid providing too much information to callers or delaying providing necessary information.

Be careful when displaying promotional content, too. Try to limit menu options to five or fewer before dividing them into sub-menus, and each option should offer callers quick responses with only the information they need.

IVR mistakes

In most cases, less is more, so shorter menu messages can aid in case resolution and other metrics.

2. Poorly Organized Information

Companies frequently make the mistake of presenting menu options in a disorganized or poorly written manner.

Design your menus such that the most regularly accessed information appears first and the least accessed information appears last.

If, for example, 50% of your inbound calls go to sales and only 5% to accounting, list sales before accounting in your IVR.

3. Poorly Incorporated Promotions

You may be tempted to present promotional content first in your IVR so that more people hear it.

However, this thinking is counter-intuitive since you tend to upset people more than convert them.

Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

Try keeping things straight to the point. Most promotional messages are irrelevant to callers and lengthen the time callers spend on the phone seeking a solution to their problem.

4. Repetitive Hold Message or Music

Waiting on hold can be frustrating. But being put on hold while hearing a commercial or guitar tune a dozen times is worse.

Ensure your music replays less often, you have fewer promotional messages, and you use phrases like “your call is important to us” less often.

However, you still want to assure customers that you acknowledge their call and that it is in the queue.

5. Poor Quality Recording

Resist the urge to record your IVR menu options yourself. Even though it may be cheaper, never underestimate the preparation or expertise required for professional voice recordings.


Doing something that makes you happy before recording can improve quality since your emotions will be reflected in the final product. If everything else fails, hire a third-party specialist to record for you.

6. No Call-back Option

Think of a scenario where your automated system cannot solve a customer’s problem, and they cannot reach an agent who can address the issue immediately.

Then, the system should provide a way for callers to schedule an automatic call-back from your business later. Doing this can influence outcomes in terms of sales and satisfaction scores.

7. Different Voices and Volumes

Have your voice recordings done by the same person using the same or similar equipment to maintain a clear and consistent presentation.

Contact center

Hearing different voices when navigating an IVR is unsettling, and it can be much more annoying when the recording’s volume or quality changes.

8. Lack of Proper Customization

Every caller receives identical menus and messages from your IVR based on their previous interactions.

You can provide better services to customers moving forward with customized menus, messaging, or advanced IVR call routing—such as a skills-based routing engine.

9. Inconsistent Brand Image

Perhaps the voice actor you chose does not match your brand image, or maybe the default setting of your hold music is still in place.

Customize your IVR so that the voice and presentation reflect your business. Voice prompts on an IVR set up for a law firm will likely differ from those for a local fast food joint.

Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

So, align your IVR experience with the brand image that customers have grown to expect from your business.

10. Limited Service Hours

Having your IVR designed to function during business hours such that it offers little to no assistance after hours is not good. Make self-service options available at all times.

Inform customers beforehand if some options are unavailable after hours so they don’t explore the entire IVR only to realize they must call back the following day.

11. No Follow-up or Satisfaction Survey

Sending follow-up emails or texts asking customers about their experience has become standard practice for companies.

Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

Satisfying customers is a priority, and the simplest way to know whether they are is to ask them for feedback at specific points in your relationship, including after a conversation with your customer care staff or after buying from you.

12. Too Much Industry Jargon

Your menu’s language could be too focused on your particular industry or difficult for some callers to understand.

For example, if customers call to update their account details, they should be given options in plain language, not instructed to complete an “XY-555” form or other internal jargon.

13. Redirecting Customers to the Website

Omnichannel customer engagement has certain benefits, but asking customers who have decided to contact your business by phone to visit your website for more information may not be a smart move.

IVR mistakes

Customers are already trying to address the problem over the phone, and you are forcing them into a process that may be unsuitable for their needs or abilities while also showing that you don’t care.

14. No Wait Time Information

Tell callers how long they will have to wait when placing them on hold or in a call queue so they can plan their time accordingly.

Be careful not to make the message excessively monotonous if using a continuous message. For example, reminding callers they would be on hold for another ten minutes every 30 seconds is not a good idea.

15. Unreachable Live Agents

A good IVR quickly responds to a caller’s query without engaging a live agent. But, in some circumstances, complex customer issues that automated systems cannot handle may need to be routed to agents.

Top 20 IVR Mistakes You Should Avoid to Increase Conversions

IVR’s second-greatest role here is connecting callers with the correct agent as soon as possible.

Ensure your call routing system can connect customers to the right agent so that they can navigate your menu easily when seeking help.

16. Fully Automated Without Live Agents

Aiming to automate a contact center completely, for example, can be a mistake if you rely on automation and self-service approaches to address customer needs.

Aim for at least 80% automation and 20% live agent calls instead so that IVR systems handle the bulk of routine calls and a handful of unique cases are taken by live agents better prepared for more complex situations.

17. No Conversational IVR When Needed

The benefit of installing conversational IVR increases with the size and volume of calls your company handles.

Unlike traditional IVR systems, which only allow callers to use simple voice commands like “yes” or “no,” conversational IVR enables callers to express their needs using longer words and plain language.

IVR mistakes

Callers may voice their concerns or requests in their own words, and a conversational IVR can adjust to fit the situation and provide users with a more human-like experience.

18. Forgetting to Provide an Exit Route

Never fail to provide customers with an exit route. They can easily choose the wrong option or go through and find they did not select the appropriate one, which can be frustrating.

Ensure your IVR system allows customers to return to the main menu or previous pages if they make a mistake.

19. Overestimating People’s Attention Spans

Avoid overestimating people’s attention spans. Ensure your IVR messages are short and precise.

Understanding the True Cost of a Missed Call for Your Business

Callers want solutions fast, so offering detailed, lengthy details can upset your customers. Simply provide them with the necessary information and inform them of alternative ways to reach you.

20. Lack of IVR Maintenance

Your IVR system might seem finished, but automated systems need regular maintenance to perform at their best.

You can upgrade your IVR to improve client experiences in many ways, especially when providers offer new features.

You must regularly update information like company hours, office locations, web URLs, seasonal messages, and promotions.

Final Thoughts

Very few companies have IVRs as good as speaking with a live agent. Most businesses make mistakes when installing IVR systems, meaning there is room for improvement.

Implementing IVR right can increase customer satisfaction, reduce the burden on support agents, and increase revenue while doing it wrong may well frustrate customers and have the opposite effect.

So, strive to create an effective script for your business. At  PALO, we understand the power of having a good IVR system in optimizing pay-per-call campaigns for performance.

We believe that a well-designed IVR system is key to success in business-to-business marketing. Contact us today to learn more about our pay-per-call campaigns and how we can help you scale your business.