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COVID-19 IVR Messages

March 2020

It’s an understatement to say that the unique circumstances brought on by COVID-19 affects us all. We’re seeing now up-front IVR broadcast messages about a company’s response.


Although there are many communications channels to get information out and the IVRs are a tempting vehicle, their overall efficiency can be undermined when they’re used this way.


High-performing IVRs make judicious use of any broadcast message that every caller must hear and sit through. The positive side of this is that information is getting out. The negative is that repeat or frequent callers have already heard the message and do not need or want to take time to hear it again. 


So far, we’ve heard COVID-19 messages that take some 20 to 55 seconds to play. Callers cannot barge through these to get to where they need to be for the reason they called. 


Also, keep in mind that callers taking the time to hear information they could or have heard or read elsewhere can cost you in bottom-line telecom expenses.


So, what to do about COVID-19 messages in your IVR?


• Resist the urge to put lengthy upfront messages in your IVR whenever possible. 

Life-threatening call types (gas leaks, downed power lines, lost credit cards, access to pharmacists) are an IVR’s top priority, so recorded messages should not delay callers from accessing them, if at all possible.


• Make any message as concise as possible and delivered in a way to be absorbed quickly.


• Allow for message barge through if callers know it and simply want to get to their reason for calling.


• Another, perhaps better, option is to give callers a choice of hearing it or not.

For example: “To hear how [company] can help you during the coronavirus situation, press [star] [pound] or say COVID-19.” … and, if there’s no response within 2-3 seconds, continue with the Greeting or Main Menu choices.


At IVR Doctors, we are here 24/7 for you and:


  • can teleconference with IVR SMEs and/or IVR teams.

  • can help teams strategize about this or on other IVR matter.

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