Friday, April 24, 2009

Closing the Dialog -- Part IV

11. Reassure users of success

If the main purpose of the call was to execute a transaction and the transaction was successfully completed, repeat to the user that the transaction was successful, and if possible, let them know that a follow-up confirmation will reach them. Ideally, an email detailing the transaction should be sent. This email will serve as a reassuring, visible, warm-and fuzzy and will go a long way towards reducing the number of calls from people who just want to make sure that the stupid IVR system did do what they wanted it to do.

System: Great! We are done! You should receive an email shortly detailing your transaction. Thanks for calling. Goodbye.

12. Don’t provide any crucial new information

Whether the call termination was initiated by the user or the system, try to avoid announcing anything new or important at the call-closing prompt. After the user says, "Goodbye", their attention to what the system is saying is minimal. At most, repeat some piece of information before closing with "Goodbye": e.g., "Remember, your coupon is valid only through June 30th, 2008."

13. Turn barge-in off

Since information will be flowing only one way – from the system to the user -- during the closing of a dialog, turn barge-in off to ensure that the closing prompt is not interrupted.

14. Give the user a quick tip

If the user had to traverse a deep menu to reach the option they selected, the system should tip the user on how, next time they call, they can make their selection with an easy to remember simple shortcut. The shortcut could be a DTMF sequence or a simple, easy-to-remember phrase. It is important, however, that the tip be provided quickly, at the very beginning of the closing sequence, before the user stops listening.

15. Offer to call back

If the system determines that the user needs to wait 3 minutes or more to speak with an agent, then offer the user the option to be called back by the system when an agent is freed up to speak with the user.

16. Explicitly mark that the dialog is over

Once the dialog termination sequence has been initiated, the system should explicitly inform the user that the dialog is over. The system should never simply hang up.

System: Great! We are done! Thanks for calling. Goodbye.