The Power of the Prompt

Dec 15 2015 by Bill Kervaski in Tips

When you call a business one of two things will happen. Either somebody will answer the call (to route you to someone who can actually help) or you'll get a greeting that gives you some options.

While there are those hold outs that insist a call must be answered by a live human body, most of us ultimately just want someone that can actually help us as fast as possible.

Personally, I'm a firm believer in automated attendants as long as they are short, helpful, and one level deep.

I don't mind pressing a digit or two, but if I find myself diving down a rabbit hole I'm just going to get frustrated, hangup, or start hitting "0" until something happens.

Purposeful Prompts

The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle works great when designing the caller facing aspects of your phone system.

Regardless of whether your designing a speech driven system or one that (yuck) forces the callers stop what they're doing and press buttons, prompts should be:

  • Short and to the point
  • Constraining
  • Clear and concise
  • Useful
  • Friendly
  • Not boring

Prompts drive callers, they don't know what to do otherwise, and can also constrain responses or hide hidden features and options.

Just Tell Me What You Want

Ok, so we're a bit biased. VoiceHub has this cool speech recognition stuff to work with, and it will give our customers an unfair advantage.

How? You can get callers just about anywhere with just a single prompt (maybe two if you need to confirm something) on a speech driven auto attendant, also commonly referred to as an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system.

You aren't limiting callers to the 12 buttons on their phones. With speech recognition, the options are virtually limiteless.

For example, if your company has 50 employees, generally old ugly phone systems make you type in part of the name (clumsy) vs ...

"Thanks for calling the Widgets Company. You can say things like Sales and Support or just tell me who you want to talk to" is much better than the twenty levels of dial-a-digit hell.

VoiceHub will connect callers to someone who can help them without multi-level menus or the need for a human answering the phone and they will thank you for it.