Best Practices for Contact Centre IVR Surveys


What is an IVR Survey?

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) survey is a popular method of collecting customer feedback following a phone call with a contact centre representative. They are usually pre-recorded automated questionnaires which customers can respond to vocally or using their phone’s keypad. 

They offer a lot of ease in collecting the voice of the customer but can be tricky to get right. Below we have included some of the best practices you can adopt to nail your IVR survey. 

Best Practices for IVR Surveys

1. Keep it short

After spending time on the phone with a call centre agent, and possibly having waited before the call to be spoken to, the last thing any customer wants is to spend ten minutes answering a series of questions when they could just get on with their day. If a customer feels the survey is taking too long, they are likely to drop off. Keep the IVR survey to about 5 questions or 2-3 minutes. You should inform the customer before the survey starts to the number of questions or the estimated amount of time the survey will take. To gain extra insights you can include an open-ended question at the end of the survey to record any additional thoughts the customer may have, which can then be transcribed through a voice to text tool.

2. Be simple and precise

The goal of an IVR survey, like any VoC survey, should be quality over quantity when it comes to your questions and responses. Try not to confuse customers by putting two questions in one. For example “was your agent helpful and friendly?” is going to yield poor quality responses. An agent can be unhelpful but friendly or helpful but rude. Additionally, the language should be particularly simple in an IVR survey. Definitely do not include any jargon in the survey and keep the word choices basic to ensure all survey respondents will understand the questions. 

3. Choose a simple scale

Answering over the phone is a very different experience from an email, SMS or pop up survey as there is no visual and customers are limited to their keypad. In an IVR survey, a 0-10 scale is going to be confusing. A “10” may be recorded as a “1” for example, and “0” is near the high numbers on a keypad even though it is the lowest possible response. We recommend using a 5-point (1-5), 7-point scale (1-7) or 9-point scale (1-9).

4. Don’t cut the customer off

If you elect to have an open-ended question at the end of the survey whereby your customer can be recorded, make sure you let them finish. While there should be a time limit to responses, give customers the option to continue speaking. Cutting them off mid-sentence with a dial-tone indicating their time is up will leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth and doesn’t provide you with the all of the insights you could have gained from that potentially thoughtful customer. 

5. Integrate data

It is essential to integrate your VoC survey with your contact centre technology. This is the best way to gain truly robust insights about the customer-agent interaction and will ultimately help you to keep your survey short and effective. One of the biggest downfalls of IVR surveys can be that they don’t provide enough qualitative data, and some criticise them for only being useful for benchmarking success through numerical scores. This is only true if you don’t link up the surveys to all of the information gained along the customer’s journey to capture the voice of the customer. This is also the best way to avoid redundancy. You should never ask a question that was already answered at another touchpoint (such as a customer ID, reason for calling, or how often a customer has called) as this should be collected by your technology. 

6. Be fair to your agents

You might receive some horrible ratings back for some questions because a customer couldn’t be helped. Maybe they wanted to return an item but were past the time limit or maybe there was a manufacturing issue with a product. Whatever the complaint is, if it is outside of an agent’s remit to help them, you can’t blame the agent for the terrible rating they might receive. Be considerate when reviewing feedback and make sure you understand where both the agent and the customer were coming from in the interaction before you take action to reprimand an agent for something outside of their control. 

Learn more about CX Index’s Contact Centre solution here. And don’t hesitate to reach out for help designing and implementing your IVR survey.