Last updated 2nd of August 2018
Author Paul Philpott
How to Write an IVR Script
There’s a reason why callers hate dealing with IVR and other automated phone systems. Over the years they’ve earned their bad reputation through poorly written scripts, unnecessarily long customer journeys, and unsatisfactory outcomes. There are a number of factors that make up a good automated phone system and many of these can be achieved through how you approach and write your script. Here are some of our best tips on how to write an IVR script (that works):
Write for Audio
Writing for audio is not like writing for print or video. More words do not mean greater clarification, as is often the case with the written word; in fact, the more detailed your script the more time it will take the caller to navigate your system and the more annoyed they will become.
Listeners cannot see mannerisms and facial expressions as they can in video, so you need to write clearly and remove ambiguity. However, a good voiceover can imply certain things and stress important points. For example, you don’t need to say please and thank you all the time as long as the voiceover sounds warm and genuine.
DON’T WRITE…Yet! Check Your Flow
Before you write your script, you should have a very clear view of what you need to write and how you need to write it, so the caller can reach the solution they require quickly and efficiently. This means planning out your phone system and all the possible options and outcomes. We usually create a call flow diagram that maps out what information is needed in each prompt (see What are IVR Prompts for more information). This will be invaluable to the team or company building your phone system too.
When you’re planning your system, consider ways to give your callers the best and fastest journey possible. Even if your system consists of only one menu, this step will still help you visualise possible journeys and prioritise the most important
NO, Still No Writing…You Need Style
We’ve discussed style in previous blog posts and it’s important to consider this before creating your script. Unless you know how you want your business to sound to callers, you will find writing a good script almost impossible. Your phone system is an important facet of your organisation’s branding and should be treated as such.
Another benefit of creating a style guide is for future additions and re-writes of your IVR script, especially if you have a complicated system. One of the problems with many automated systems is that parts have been rewritten or added-to over the years with no regard for the original call flow or script style. A style guide can be referenced in the future when changes need to be made and the original writer is no longer available. This will prevent a disjointed and off-brand system and ensure a better customer experience.
NOW You Can Write Your IVR Script
Okay, you can start writing your script. Always keep in mind your caller wants the quickest solution to their needs, which means reaching the right person or information as efficiently as possible. Keep it clear and concise, avoid repetition from prompt to prompt and don’t force the caller to take unnecessary detours.
Always keep your style guide and call flow in mind as you write.
Listen to Your Script…and then Do It Again!
Before you send the script off for professional recording, read and re-read it aloud. What works on paper may not work in audio format. Ask others to listen to the prompts and even test them out in a trial scenario. Do they give too much information or not enough? Is the information given in the best order? Does it fit your branding requirements? Is any of it confusing or ambiguous?
Creating an effective IVR system is vital if you want to provide good customer service and experience as well as streamline your business operations. Following these tips will help you get it right first time and for years to come.
We hope you found this article on how to write an IVR script useful – please read the additional blog posts referenced here and below for more information. We are experts in all aspects of IVR solutions and we’ve worked with organisations around the world to set-up or streamline their current IVR systems. If you’d like help with writing your script, creating the best call flow, developing a style guide or finding and recording the perfect IVR voice, click to send us a message or call 020 7100 7986, or get in touch via the website.