Tips on Optimizing Your IVR Menu

Phone menu

Do you cringe when your call is answered by an auto-attendant? Do you breath a sigh of relief when the menu is clear and easy to follow? Are you impressed when you press an option and your call is answered by someone who can help you quickly and efficiently?

You’ve been on both those trains. So if your company is ready to implement, or re-vamp, a voicemail system, be the company with the positive caller experience.

Here are 5 tips to help:

  • Organize options for maximum efficiency.

    Allow callers to enter the extension of the person they wish to call right at the beginning rather than forcing them to listen to multiple options first. They’ve probably already heard those (maybe multiple times). Chances are they will be frustrated and hit 0, an option that is not ideal for the either the caller or reception. Support or emergency options should also be listed at the top. You want to eliminate as much anxiety as possible.

  • Keep it short.

    Your menu is meant to help people navigate to get the right answers quickly.  So, if you have long descriptions of products and services, or different hours every day of the week, include a short option in the main menu. Then expand in a secondary entry.  For example you could say: ” for the latest products, press 4; for hours and directions, press 5″.

  • Enunciate clearly
  • Keep your words to a minimum. Keep the energy level up, but make sure you enunciate each word clearly. After all, the caller does not have a script to follow and phone frequency capability is narrow (making an “s” sound like “f” etc.). On the other hand, it is important to keep it conversational. Rather than annoy all callers with a slow delivery, ensure there is an option to repeat the menu, should someone need to hear it again.


  • Keep it clean.
  • If you only have one contact for multiple jobs, don’t make the options list long in an attempt to make your company seem bigger. You want to help your caller, not make them navigate a maze.  For example, if Kim is the CEO as well as the contact for both accounts payable and receivable,  just state:  “for accounting and administration, press 3” (NOT: “for A/P press 1, for A/R press 2, for admin press 3”).


  • Hold the fluff.
  • Callers are too busy for descriptive details! Let your team provide the extra information to interested customers. Or, you may want to allow the caller to choose an option and then provide the details as a secondary menu. (Chances are someone with a product question is not interested in your address or the fact that you donate to local charities. Someone wanting to pay their invoice may not be interested in spending extra time listening to product descriptions).

Woman on the phone

Need help?

Contact On-Hold Marketing. Our service is focused on making things as easy as possible for our clients. We are happy to advise you on voice selection. We’ll suggest prompt organization. Our editors will optimize your text. Our studio will record your approved script.  Then we’ll send you the finished files, ready-to-use, in the file format ideal for your telephone system.

Successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision.” – Paul Wellstone

Add some life to your phone system

We can help you add some professionalism to your auto-attendant system or better market your special offers to callers who are waiting on-hold.

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