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February 12, 2020

7 Tips to Simplify Your Phone Menu

Although it can be easily overlooked, the phone menu your company presents may be the first impression of your business for a lead.

That being said, when someone is greeted with your phone menu, what’s their experience like? Are you offering the most important options first, or are they sitting through a slew of options before getting to the most commonly requested extension? This can easily cause someone to hang up and call your competitor for a less frustrating experience.

The good news is phone menus are completely customizable and can be as simple or as complex as your company requires. Here are a few ways you can streamline your company’s menu for the best possible customer experience.

1.      Use “Human” Language

When creating your menu, assume that the caller isn’t familiar with your industry or company. This means you should avoid incorporating complicated jargon in your options.

If they’re presented with choices in which they don’t know the meaning, they can easily feel deterred. What could be more frustrating is if they press a button with what they think they need, only to send them down a rabbit trail of more confusing prompts. This could cause them to hang up and start over (or call someone else altogether).

2.      Know What’s Most Frequently Requested

Most likely, someone calling your business is trying to get a question answered. Before creating or editing your phone menu, list out the most frequently asked questions.

You may find that you can bundle a group of FAQs together. As a result, you can keep your menu simple by only offering two to three levels of options before speaking to a human.

3.      Offer a Blended Experience

With so many ways to find information online, if someone is calling in, odds are they want to speak to a person. Automation is helpful, but only to a certain extent.

Be sure to give callers the option to speak to a representative and options to get their answers through the menu. Some of your callers want to speak to someone right away, while some prefer to work independently through the menu to get their question(s) answered.

4.      Map It Out

Once you’ve determined the common reasons people are calling and how to categorize them, a helpful exercise can be to physically map out the call menu. This visualization can show you where callers will reach a dead end and how to loop them back in. It can also highlight any gaps in your menu and where you need to add in alternatives.

It can be infuriating for someone calling in to reach the end of the choices only to find that their inquiry can’t be answered and there’s no way back to the main menu. A menu map ensures this never happens.

5.      Offer Voice and Button Responses

Although it seems like a no brainer, having both voice and button responsiveness offers the best possible customer service experience. Especially for someone who is not comfortable with multitasking.

For those calling on cell phones, they have to dial your phone number, put the call on speakerphone, find the keypad, and press the correlating button to work through the menu. This can be very confusing for older demographics. Voice responses lets them quickly and easily get to the option they desire without fumbling with the device.

6.      Go Through the Menu Yourself

Once you created your phone menu, call in and go through each option you’ve designed. This is particularly important if you haven’t touched your phone menu in a while.

No matter how well you’ve planned and simplified it, you might be surprised to find a hurdle or mishap. What’s worse is you may find parts of it frustrating that you thought were perfectly crafted. If so, then it’s likely your callers are feeling the same way. Take time to edit and simplify the process until it’s a well-oiled machine.

7.      When in Doubt, Keep it Simple

A lead or customer calling in is trying to get a problem solved. Figure out the common reasons people call in and avoid keeping them trapped in the phone menu for more than a few minutes. The simpler, more personable it is, the better the impression you leave on them. This first impression can make or break a relationship, so take time to simplify and personalize it.

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