Telephone Based Systems

If you use an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System or call routing in your organisation, the following guidance should be applied:

Keep call routing systems simple

The call routing system should be kept as simple as possible. It should have no more than three levels, with no more than four options per level.

If your caller doesn’t make a choice, divert the call to a live agent

Where your caller fails to make a recognised choice, they should be automatically diverted to an employee. This should automatically be done once the options have been presented twice.

Avoid repetition or unnecessary gathering of information

If it is necessary to transfer the caller to a different section or organisation during a call, avoid gathering unnecessary information or repetition.

For example, where the caller has provided you with their name or contact details, you should pass this information onto the employee in the other section.

Only state important information

Information that is important to the caller should be presented at the beginning of the automated response options. This is to ensure that the caller is not provided with too much information, which would make instructions harder to follow.

Provide options in order of priority

Options should be presented in order of importance. This should be based on the types of calls that you most commonly receive.

Only provide frequently used options

The options provided should be those that are most frequently used by your callers. This is to avoid providing an exhaustive list.

Inform your caller upfront of the number of options

Make a statement at the start of the call identifying how many options the caller will be asked to choose from.

Music or a signal should be given to indicate that the caller is on hold

Where your caller is placed on hold by the system, music or an alternative signal should be given, to let the caller know they are on hold.

Give an indication of the wait time

Where possible give the caller an indication of wait time or queue size.

Provide alternative ways to make contact

Provide an alternative channel for members of the public who are not able to use telephone based systems. For example, SMS messaging based communication.

Tip

Put details of call routing or IVR on your website and where required in print. This will help members of the public see what their options are and help them choose the option that is most suitable for their query.

Telephone callers – let the callers know their call is on hold. A tone, message or music should play to inform the caller that they are on hold

Telephone callers – inform callers of the number of options. Make a statement at the start of the call indicating the number of options the caller will be asked to choose from

Customer Communications Toolkit for the Public Service – A Universal Design Approach

Digital and Web Based Communication Systems and Services

Telephone Based Call Routing and Message Service Checklist