10 IVR Design Tips: You don’t want to upset your customers

. We all know that businesses, startups, multinational companies, and freelancers have one thing in common. And that one thing is, they all cannot survive without customers. This makes customer service and satisfaction, their utmost priority. And this is where the IVR design tips to an efficient and simple way of designing the IVR or Interactive Virtual Response System plays a crucial role, since you don’t want your customers to be mad or upset with bad call experience. 

“ A study conducted by Purdue University suggests that bad IVR experience will make 63% of consumers stop using the company’s products or services.”

The main reason companies use an IVR menu is to automate their calling process and make it more efficient. The IVR menu helps to direct callers to operators, different departments, and employee extensions. It is imperative for the IVR menu to have an optimized design, or else it could lead to a lot of frustration among the customers. Nobody wants to lose their potential or loyal customers because of one bad IVR experience. 

IVR design

Let’s understand a scenario of bad IVR design setup:

An existing customer who needs some technical assistance immediately tries to call the customer care hoping to sort his problem over the call. After the call connects, the IVR professionally greets him.

But, then he finds himself stuck in a long list of options for almost 15 minutes. Adding to this, he did not even get the option to connect with an agent. Nor could he get any information through self-service options. In this case IVR proved to be insufficient to handle his query. Infuriated by this experience, he finally gave up, left negative reviews on social media platforms, and move on to a competitor.

To avoid the above kind of scenario, please make sure that you strictly abide by the following tips while designing an IVR set up for your business or yourself.

10 Tips to design IVR for your business:

1. Always have the IVR designed to have the option to speak to an agent: 

One of the main IVR design tips is to have an IVR system in place, it is mandatory to give customers the freedom to choose to talk to an agent or even skipping the whole IVR process. It is also rude to hang up on a customer when they are not able to provide any input. Instead, his call should be automatically transferred to an agent.

2. Understand your customer issues and put the most popular option first in your IVR design:

Ivr design tips

Analyze your existing customer data. And figure out the most common issue for which the customers call your IVR frequently. Make sure to include these options in the starting of your IVR menu.

In general, your first two options should be related to a new customer query and second to an existing customer. In addition you may have an option for potential customers.

3. Keep the introduction under 8 seconds and menu under 4 seconds in your IVR design:

Everybody has a busy schedule and none of us would like to waste time listening to some never-ending meaningless sentences. As a rule of thumb, keep your introductory message under 8 seconds, and each option announcement under 4 seconds. 

Also, keep in mind to not include any recent marketing or promotion materials in the call. Customers call with a sense of completing a task. So please don’t irritate them by delivering information that is redundant to them.

4. Keep menu options to minimum preferably limit to 5: 

ivr menu
Minimal menu option

Simplicity is the key while designing an IVR. Studies show that callers begin to get irritated after hearing three or more prompts. It also causes frustration if they have to navigate more than three levels of menu options. To prevent this, keep your menu options to minimum preferably limit to 5.  

Use analytics and call reports to monitor and improve your IVR menu. Improvising is an ongoing process. Hence keep trying different options and menu until you figure out what works best for you.

5. Make your IVR sound like human and a female:

IVR design tips
Give a human voice to IVR and have options for multiple languages

Another IVR design tips is to make customers feel at ease and assured when they are talking or listen to a human voice rather than a mechanical voice. To increase the level of ease of communication, make sure your IVR uses a human voice and most preferably female voice. You can even add extra customer experience ethos by incorporating updates about wait times. Additionally mentioning statements like “Sorry, this is taking longer than expected!” can put customers at ease.

6. Always call back and don’t make the customer wait:

Call queue
Don’t make the customer wait for a long time. Ask their details and call them back.

Never make a customer wait for an agent to talk to them. If an agent is unable to take a customer call, the IVR should be set up in such a way that it saves the customer number. This information should be later used by the agent to call back.

The IVR should also mention something like: “Sorry all our agents are busy at the moment. Please leave your number and we will return your call.” 

7. Store and transfer the data to the concerned agent:

It’s a shame if the customer has to give his details again such as customer ID, phone number, or account number. It makes sense for the IVR to store all such information and directly transfer this data to the live agent. Doing this would eliminate a lot of frustration and gives customers better user experience.

8. Touchpad option is a must:

Call menu
CaHave both touch-pad and speech recognition option

There have been situations when the voice recognition does not interpret the input accurately. This can be due to language or accent differences. Therefore it is must to always have the touchpad option in your IVR. This further reduces any chances of errors and miscommunications.

9. Send follow up message every time a customer makes a request through self-service: 

 It is primitive to make the customer know that we have been receiving your requests or messages. And make them aware that the concerned team is working on it and will be contacting you shortly.

It sends a wrong message if your customer leaves without having an idea, whether their requests or messages are being taken into consideration. Thus it is essential to send a follow-up text message to the caller as a confirmation that the request has been received. 

10. Continue to monitor and improvise your IVR menu:

 As mentioned earlier improvising is a continuous process, no one can reach the perfect solution in one go. It will be helpful to utilize analytics and call reports to monitor and improve your IVR menu.

Review your system regularly, remove options that might confuse customers, and make adjustments as required.


IVR should have a simple design that makes customer navigation, and issue resolution easy and quick. IVR’s main objective is to increase satisfaction and add value to the customer lifecycle. But if your IVR is not optimized and designed as per your customer needs, it can lead to huge business losses. Further, it can create mistrust among the existing and potential customers. In order to ease and make customers experience great service, the IVR should be set up in a user-friendly manner.

If you follow the above ten points to design the IVR system, you can save yourself and your company from all adversities. And VirtuIVR can help you design one of the most effective IVR systems according to the needs and demands of your business and customer.


Let VirtuIVR make IVR an asset for your company and not a liability. 

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