IVR Top Tips for Success


Follow these tips for implementing a successful Voice IVR Survey. Also, check out our more detailed Ultimate IVR Survey Guide.

  1. Explain about keypresses. Many people in developing countries have never experienced an IVR call before, so asking them to “press 1 if you’re female, press 2 if you’re male” may not make sense to them. Try to be more specific: “To answer the questions, use the keypad on your phone. If you’re female, press the number one button on your phone. If you’re male, press the number two button on your phone.
  1. Send to yourself first! Send a test IVR call to yourself (and colleagues) to make sure the structure of your campaign works as expected and that your audio files sound good on a phone call (tips for recording audio).
  1. Test with real end-users! Before sending your IVR engagement to thousands of people (or even hundreds), test with real members of your audience. Send out your IVR to 5 people, analyze the results, and iterate. Keep testing and iterating until you feel comfortable that (a) your language is understandable, (b) your call structure works well (and isn’t overwhelming), and (c) you’re meeting your goals in terms of response rates.
  1. Add encouragement for spoken response questions. If you’re asking people to speak a response, try to encourage them a bit. Try something like, “After the beep, please tell us why you chose to participate in this training. Speak into your phone just like you’re talking to a person sitting next to you – don’t be shy!”
  1. Be engaging (and introduce yourself). Try to use storytelling or characters (or even music) as part of your audio messages to keep your audience interested…even if you’re doing a “boring” IVR survey. And introduce yourself! Explain who you are, why you’re calling, and what will happen on the call.
  1. Use automated call retries. Turn on Automated Call Retries to automatically have our system call people again who don’t pick up. Automated call retries are crucial for increasing engagement rates, and especially help you reach people who have infrequent phone signal.
  1. Use reconnect calls. Make sure that if a call drops mid-survey, the contact is called back to continue where they left off and hopefully complete the survey. Reconnect calls take care of this and increase survey completion rates.
  1. Send an SMS first. If you’re pushing out the IVR to your audience, send them a text message first to give them a heads up; they’ll be more likely to answer. (Test this, though, because for some audiences, it might encourage them not to answer!)
  1. Offer incentives. Send an airtime top-up as an incentive to contacts who complete your IVR call. You can mention the incentive in a pre-call SMS notification and include a reminder during the introduction on the call. Incentives are especially helpful in increasing response rates for IVR surveys.

Learn how to build automated IVR campaigns

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