In his recent Wall Street Journal bestseller, ‘Building a StoryBrand,’ author Donald Miller draws an analogy from cavemen to underscore the necessity of simplicity when it comes to communication. The analogy is especially applicable when creating interactive voice response content.

He reminds us that the caveman’s brain was wired for survival. When chased by a saber-toothed tiger, the caveman’s total focus was on survival. Anything else was a life-threatening distraction.

Miller says the human brain is no different today. Like the caveman, we’re wired to ignore distractions so we can survive – and thrive – in the business world. Which is why he says that our brand communication should be as clear and simple as possible. Anything less and we run the risk of being ignored.

This is especially true for interactive voice response content. When customers call your company, they want answers and they want them fast. Even as they sit on the call, you’re competing for their attention.

Interactive voice response content that is streamlined, clear and prioritizes customer needs keeps the caller engaged and on the line.

Here are seven crucial elements of interactive voice response content that will help you do just that.

#1: Study Your Call Flow

It’s important to study your call flow to learn how your options rank in terms of caller preference. Place your options in terms of caller preference to reduce wait time and frustration.

#2: Limit Interactive Voice Response Content Options

Knowing your callers and with whom they most want to talk with will help you know which menu options to provide. Too many options will confuse and lose customers. Too few options will negate the efficacy of your interactive voice response system.

Declutter, monitor usage and ensure you’re delivering the most streamlined experience possible.

#3: Let The Customer Talk to a Person

There are some things an interactive voice response system just can’t do. For one, they can’t answer specific questions. And they can’t connect your caller to someone who is not listed on the menu. Provide your callers with an option to speak with a person. Otherwise, they might stop calling.

#4: Update Your Interactive Voice Response Content Information

Just as your website should be updated with current information, so should your interactive voice response prompts.

Christmas messages in January reflect a company that’s not paying attention. If appropriate, change your messages on weekends and holidays to reflect hours of business, what to do in case of an emergency, or how to find more information on your website.

Just because your business is closed, doesn’t mean customers aren’t calling. Keep your information updated and you can make money while your doors are closed.

#5: Be Brief

Don’t drag your prompts out. Respect your caller’s time and use phrases rather than sentences. For example, rather than this: ‘If you’d like to speak to a customer service representative, please press 2’; do this: ‘For Customer Service, press 2,

Why use 13 words when five will do?

#6: Move the extension to the end

When callers are listening to your interactive voice response prompts, they are listening for specific departments. Don’t confuse them by putting the extension (the number) before the department name. Capture their attention with the department name and then give them the number. This way, they are more likely to remember the number and not have to repeat the prompts – or worse, call back.

#7: ‘Press’ instead of ‘dial’

No one ‘dials’ anymore – they ‘press’ or ‘touch’. Make sure your language keeps up with the times. It may be a small thing but it shows that you are relevant and that you pay attention to details.

You Can’t Afford For Your Interactive Voice Response Content To Be Ignored

When your customers call, respect their time by following these seven crucial elements for interactive voice response content.

After all you’ve invested in your interactive voice response content, you can’t afford to be ignored.