Tips On Creating A User-Friendly IVR System

Many businesses currently use interactive voice response systems which provide automated phone menus that enable customers to retrieve information which has been pre-recorded. They can also be used to gather information about a customer which ensures that they are filtered to the correct department, such as sales or customer services. The problem is that many businesses fail to think about their customers’ needs when creating their IVR system. In this article we will provide the top tips for creating a user-friendly IVR system that will leave your customers feeling more than satisfied with your service.

Users will be required to press numbers on their telephones in order to navigate through an IVR system

Menu options

When building your business’s IVR system it is important to stick to the rule of four! You should provide your customers with no more than four menu options as otherwise you will be making it difficult for them to remember which option they needed to select. You should always give users the option to be put straight through to an advisor, as this will prevent the customer getting frustrated if they cannot work out which option they needed to pick.


Before creating your IVR system you may want to conduct research into your customers’ enquiries. This will help you to put together a frequently asked question option for your IVR. You will be able to pre-record answers to customers’ FAQs, giving them access to the information they need, quickly and efficiently. If you are going to have an FAQ option on your IVR system then it is best to position it first on your caller menu. This will prevent the customer from having to listen to all of the recorded menu options, saving them time and effort.


One of the aspects which bugs customers the most about IVR systems is poor or complex phrasing. It is important to make your interactive voice response system as easy to understand as possible. A common mistake business owners make is stating the number before the department on their caller menus. It should be ‘for sales, press one’ rather than ‘press one for sales.’ Your customers are likely to be listening out for the department name, so if you say the number first, this may be forgotten by the time they have heard the option.

Keep it simple

A complex IVR system does not necessarily translate to effective communications, in fact the simpler your system, the more likely your customers are to use it properly. It is essential to keep your automated instructions clear and concise. Before recording your interactive voice response menu options it is important to write a script, as this will make it much easier to get it right first time. You should practice saying the script over and over again until it feels natural to say.

Alternatively you can hire a professional voice artist, though this is perhaps not the most cost effective option for a small business. If your customers find your IVR system too complex and time consuming they will simply bypass it and choose to be put straight through to an advisor, making your IVR system a pointless tool!

IVR systems should make it easy for your customers to access the information they need, whether they are on-the-go or calling from home


IVR systems have gained a bad reputation because far too many businesses have failed to integrate them into their communication systems correctly. By following our simple tips, you can change this for your business and create an IVR system that will benefit both your customers and business. Providing you have created your IVR systems with your customers’ needs in mind, rather than just your business’s, you are likely to receive a positive response from your customers. IVR systems can actually improve customer service providing that they are user-friendly.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

By Megan Hunt who is an avid fan of IVR systems.