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IVR scripts are a key part of any contact center phone system: they direct callers to the right agent or department, collect essential client data, and increase agent productivity.

71% of customers now expect a personalized interaction when they reach out to brands and businesses. IVR scripts, especially when enhanced with automated CRM data, help businesses provide a bespoke customer experience even during peak call times.

This article defines IVR scripts, explores their benefits, and outlines best practices for contact center script writing. It also provides call script examples for a variety of customer support scenarios.

 

What is an IVR Phone System?

An interactive voice response (IVR) phone system is a road map that guides incoming calls to the right agent based on call menu selections and preset business rules. IVR systems use prerecorded call menu prompts–IVR scripts–to automate customer data collection, direct customers to the best available live agent, or entirely automate basic business processes.

IVR phone systems are an integral part of the customer self-service process, helping to increase first call resolution and improve the quality of customer support.

 

What is an IVR Script?

An IVR script, or auto attendant script, is the text of the automated call menu that callers interact with and respond to throughout the customer self-service process. IVR call scripts are completely customizable, and can be created via text-to-spech or by uploading an audio file to the phone system interface.

IVR customer service scripts automate basic support interactions and improve customer experience. They’re also used to facilitate customer data collection, improve call routing strategies, optimize call flow paths, and streamline the customer survey process. Some businesses enhance IVR menus–and the call waiting process as a whole–with additions like hold music, custom prerecorded messages, queue position updates, and professional voiceover recordings.

The first IVR script customers interact with is the call greeting, a pre-recorded IVR welcome message that states the business’s name and other basic information. After the initial greeting, the IVR system automatically plays a list of scripted IVR menu options that help route callers to the ideal destination or completes the interaction without involving a live agent.

Customers can respond to these call menu prompts by entering in their responses on the touchtone keypad, or by speaking their answers into the IVR system. Using Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and machine learning, the IVR system evaluates customer intent and sentiment.

Based on the customer’s response to these automated call script prompts, the IVR system uses ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) to route each call to the appropriate:

  • Live representative
  • Department
  • Ring group
  • Voicemail box
  • Additional business phone number
  • IVR sub-menu (for multi-level IVR)

When a call is routed to a department, or group of agents, administrators can configure rules for which agent will receive each call based on skills, call volume, period of time, or other customizable criteria. Admins streamline and optimize call paths using a drag-and-drop call flow editor to configure custom business rules, call forwarding and call routing strategies, and the specific IVR message used.

 

IVR Script Examples

Auto attendant scripts all start out with an initial welcome message or IVR greeting. After the greeting is played, the IVR system either presents call menu options or transfers the call to an additional phone number or voicemail box.

Here are some templates of effective IVR scripts for various scenarios:

 

Menu scripts guide customers through the call flow. Here are some examples:

Thank you for calling [Company]. If you know your party’s extension, enter it at any time. Otherwise, please choose from the following menu options:

To speak with the operator, press 0 at any time.

For sales, press 1.

For customer service, press 2.

For billing or account information, press 3.

To return to the main menu, press 4.

To repeat this message, press 5.

Hello. You have reached [Company]. Our offices are currently closed. We are open Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time.

To leave a message, please press 1 now.

To reach our directory, please press 2 now.

For directions to our offices, please press 3 now.

For more information about our services, you can visit  our website at [website address].

To repeat this message, please press the pound sign.

 

After Hours

After hours scripts give customers options when they call at a time that the business is closed. Here are some examples: 

Hello! You have reached [Company]. Please visit our website at [website address] to learn more about our current offers. Our call center is currently closed. Our normal business hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 AM to 4 PM. Please leave a message with your name, phone number, and the reason for your call and someone will contact you by the following business day.

Thank you for calling [Company]. Unfortunately, it is now outside our normal business hours. You can reach us Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 8 PM. Please leave a message with your name and number, and a customer support representative will get in touch with you as soon as possible. Thank you.

 

Holiday Closure

Similar to after hours scripts, holiday closure scripts are used when the business or call center is closed for a holiday break. Here are some examples: 

Thank you for calling [Company Name]. We are closed for Labor Day from September 1st until September 5th. We will reopen on September 5th at 8 AM. In case of emergency, please call the following number [telephone number] or email us at [email address]. Have a great weekend!

You’ve reached [Company]. Happy Thanksgiving! We are closed from November 22nd until November 26th in the celebration of the holiday. On November 27th, we will reopen and resume our standard business operations from 9 AM to 5 PM. Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Customer Self Service

Customer self-service scripts give callers options allowing them to resolve specific issues themselves such as making an appointment. Here are some examples:

 

Please listen to the following options carefully and choose the one closest to your reason for calling.

To set up a new credit card account, press 1.

To make changes to an existing account, press 2.

To close your account, press 3.

To reach a support agent, press 0, or stay on the line.

 

Thank you for placing an order with us for [product].

If you would like [variant one], please press 1.

If you would like [variant two], please press 2.

Thank you. Please select a number from 1-5 on the keypad indicating the quantity you would like to buy.

To review your order, please press 6.

To confirm your order, please press 7.

 

Thank you for showing interest in our [product].

To schedule a demo, press 1.

To schedule your appointment, input your desired date in the MM-DD-YYYY format.

To choose a time, input the time in the HH:MM format.

To review your appointment, press 2.

To confirm, press 3.

 

Order Status

Order status scripts help guide customers through the process of checking the status of their purchase without having to speak with a live agent. Here are some examples:

 

Thank you for calling [company]. Please let us know how we can assist you.

To check the status of your order, please press 1.

If there is an issue with your order and you would like to open a ticket, please press 2.

If you wish to speak to a customer service representative, please press 3.

To return a damaged or defective product, press 4.

To reach a sales representative, please press 5.

 

Hello. Please listen carefully to the following options as our menu has recently changed.

To return a damaged or defective product, please press 1.

If you would like to exchange a wrongly delivered product for a different item, please press 2.

If you ordered a product and it was not delivered, please press 3.

 

Shipping Information and Confirmation

Shipping confirmation scripts guide customers through the self-service shipping or pickup process. Here are some examples:

 

Hello! This is an automated reminder from [Company Name]. We would like to remind you that your delivery of [Item Name] is scheduled for 7 PM today, October 2nd.

To reschedule, please press 1.

To schedule self-pickup, please press 2.

To speak to an agent, please press 3.

 

Good afternoon! Please listen to the following options carefully.

To know the current location of your order, please press 1.

If you would like to get delivery shipment details, please press 2.

To speak to an agent, please press 3.

 

 

Survey/Feedback Request

Survey scripts are used to obtain feedback from customers and conduct market research. Here are some examples:

 

Hello and thank you for using [company] for your construction needs. We hope you were satisfied with our service. Kindly take a moment to provide feedback about your experience as this helps us improve our service.

Please input a number from 0-5 to rate our service, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Thank you for your time, we hope to serve you again soon.

 

Thank you for choosing [company]. We strive to provide our customers with the best service possible. Please take a moment to provide feedback about your experience.

Please rate your customer experience by selecting a number from 0-5, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

Please tell us how likely you are to recommend [company] to a friend, with 0 being “not likely at all” and 5 being “very likely”.

Thank you and have a great day!

 

Directing Phone Calls to Specific Team Members or Departments

IVR scripts can also be used to direct calls to specific agents or departments. Here are some examples:

 

Good morning.

To reach out to one of the members of our team, please select from the following options:

For Jane Smith, press 1.

For John Anderson, press 2.

For Jane Jones, press 3.

To reach the next available agent, press 4.

Thank you for choosing [Company Name].

 

Hello! If you know the extension number of the party you are trying to reach, you may enter it at any time. Please listen carefully to the following options so that we may direct your call to the right department.

For the sales department, please press 1.

For technical support, please press 2.

For the billing department, please press 3.

For our business hours and location, please press 4.

To speak with a customer service representative, please press 5.

Press 6 to repeat these options.

Thank you for calling [Company Name]

 

On-Hold Messages with Callback

Many IVR systems allow for a callback option so that customers don’t have to wait on hold. Here are some examples:

 

All our agents are currently busy.

To leave a message, press 1.

To have an agent call you back, press 2.

Otherwise, please stay on the line, and your call will be answered in the order it was received.

All our agents are currently assisting other customers, if you would like to receive a call back as soon as an agent becomes available, please press 1 now.

 

Unfortunately, all of our agents are still busy. If you would like to receive a callback, please press 2 now. The next available agent will return your call. Otherwise, please continue to hold and someone will be with you as soon as possible.

 

Dos and Don'ts for IVR Scripts

Your company’s IVR script is the first thing that a customer hears when they call you business. At the very start of the customer journey, your IVR script should be optimized. The following dos and don’ts will help you create an IVR script that paints your company in the best light possible.

Do: Keep Scripts Concise

IVR scripts should be clear and concise, ideally between 15-30 seconds per menu/sub-menu. Scripts should save customers time and frustration, but longer prompts have the opposite effect. Avoid industry jargon and confusing options that only increase the average cost per call. For more complex automated interactions, create a series of nested call scripts and IVR sub-menus to decrease AHT and call abandonment rates.

Don’t: Include Too Many Sub-Menu Options

IVR menus should be as short as possible, with the most frequently selected or crucial options at the beginning of the menu. Have no more than 4-6 options in a main menu or sub menu.

Do: Announce Hold Times

Providing callers with an estimated wait time or current call queue position updates–as well as and offering a VoIP customer callback option– enhances the customer experience.

Don’t: Make It Hard to Speak to Live Agents

Although most customers prefer self-service, more pressing issues require a live agent. Always give customers a one-click optin to be transferred to a live agent, and include this option in your initial call menu prompt script. Customers will become extremely frustrated if the option to speak to a live agent requires long hold times and wading through multiple IVR prompts, leading to decreases in CSAT and NPS scores.

Do: Integrate IVR with CRM Systems 

Integrating your IVR with your CRM software provides instant access to repeat caller contact information, interaction history, personal notes, and account data–making it easy to personalize the customer and IVR experience

Don’t: Forget To Update IVR Scripts and Call Flow Paths

IVR scripts should be monitored and updated according to customer and user feedback, changing business needs, call volumes, times of year (or day), and specific incidents like a service outage or product recall. Many IVR software solutions offer real-time call flow editing and built-in analytics regarding call menu interactions

Do: Test Your IVR Strategy

The best way to know whether a first time caller will be able to easily navigate your IVR system is to test it first on someone outside of the company

Don't: Ignore Cultural Nuances

If your IVR serves an international audience, ensure scripts include languages other than English and are are sensitive to cultural differences in communication styles.

 

Why IVR Scripts Are Important

IVR scripts and call prompts are your business’s chance to make a good impression on consumers. As the first step of many customer service interactions, IVR script quality and efficiency determine whether these interactions will be positive or negative.

Clear, concise, and intuitive IVR scripts improve customer satisfaction rates and reduce call abandonment rates, customer hold times, and average handle time.

These scripts also relieve pressure on agents and allow businesses to share their values and mission with customers.

By following the tips above, your IVR system will improve the customer experience and your company’s bottom line.