Top 5 redundant or ineffective IVR prompts


Love ’em or hate ’em, IVRs in one form or another, are here to stay. Luckily for our entertainment, some developers (all right, sometimes the fault lies on the business side when they insist on certain prompt verbiage) design their IVRs in a way as to mimic the wordiness or intelligence of actual humans. Maybe they think it’ll give the cold machine a warm personality? Or somehow think that this will engage callers more effectively?

Let me know if you’ve heard these before:

  1. Please enter your 16-digit account number followed by the pound sign – If you already know it’s going to be 16 digits, why do I need to press ‘#’ to terminate it??? Just know to stop when I finish pressing 16 numbers!
  2. To hangup, please press 9 – No thanks, how about if I just really hang up. You know, put my phone back on the cradle or press “End Call” on my mobile.
  3. To speak to a customer service representative, please stay on the line – No kidding. I’d be really impressed if I hang up and a CSR actually calls me back.
  4. [In English] To hear the options in Spanish, please press 1 – Come. On.
  5. Our call center is currently closed, please call back during our business hours – Okay, I get it. But would be nice to let me know when business hours are (and include the timezone please)?

Have you encountered other questionable IVR prompts? Share them in the comments section.

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 redundant or ineffective IVR prompts

  1. Hahaha – I remember setting up a “dev” IVR a good few years back, to keep the engineers “in good humour” – one of the announcements was in my own voice; “Sorry, I didn’t recognize your input – please mash the keypad with your hand again…” – Seriously though, I think it’s bad enough if your IVR needs more than 4 Options per Menu – and any more than 4 Menus. I do recall a very old IVR that looped with “Press 1” – “Press 1” – “Press 1” – “Press 1″……..

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    1. Tony, thanks for stopping by and sharing such IVR stories… Good point about the “4 options per menu” even though many, many IVRs still overwhelm callers with seemingly endless menu options, then nest them with more layers. Ack!

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