HomeBusinessWant Customers To Complete Your IVR Survey? Do These Things

Want Customers To Complete Your IVR Survey? Do These Things


Clicking the Skip button or hanging up the phone before an optional survey can start is hardly ever a big deal—unless you’re the one giving out the survey and need responses. In particular, IVR phone surveys are infamous for having bad completion rates.

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response, and it’s the system that allows customers to talk to automated voice recordings and AI assistants before being transferred to a real human. While these recordings can sometimes be annoying for customers if not implemented the right way, a well-done IVR system can provide huge efficiency gains for the businesses and call centers that utilize them.

IVR surveys are surveys conducted by the IVR system itself. Just like most surveys, they usually include four main components—an intro, instructions, questions, and a thank you or farewell.

Depending on the business or industry, survey topics can be very different. At the same time, the core questions regarding the customer experience tend to remain the same.

One common question is the classic, “On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your experience?”

There’s also the more open-ended, “Please share any additional comments or suggestions you have regarding our service after the tone.”

Of course, you can’t guarantee that everyone will participate in your IVR survey—but at a high level, you can ensure that more customers will complete it if you make a point to know your customers, write effective questions that they actually want to answer, and catch them at the right times.

Do These 4 Things To Get More Completed IVR Surveys

Step 1: Know Your Customer

One of the most important facets of customer service is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think about what you would want if you were them.

This is especially important for surveys and other engagement actions that a customer is likely to ignore. In many cases, you have only a few seconds to hook a customer into taking action before they bail.

Nevertheless, by conducting research and actually becoming familiar with your typical customer’s preferences, you can create and implement IVR survey questions that are more relevant and engaging. And it’s not just the questions themselves—you can also adjust the order, length, format, and call timing of your IVR surveys in order to suit your customers better.

Just remember, even though every business’s customers are different, getting to know them is an essential first step.

Step 2: Understand Critical IVR Survey Components

Once again, the window of time you have before customers lose interest and hang up is small—and it may be getting smaller as time goes on. This makes the introduction part of your survey incredibly important.

Here are some keys to a good intro section:

  • Make the intro concise and get straight to the point
  • State how long the survey is expected to take right away
  • Articulate any incentives for the customer, such as how they can benefit from completing the survey, or why their feedback is valuable
  • Give customers the option to opt out of the survey at any time.

And here are some reminders of what not to do in your introduction:

  • Don’t go overboard with warmth and friendliness—most customers just want to get to the questions as soon as possible
  • Don’t use overly technical jargon—make sure sentences are casual and conversational
  • Don’t make it redundant or any longer than it has to be

Keep in mind that you’ll want to apply many of these tips to the instructions section of your survey as well. If your customers don’t understand the instructions, they may get confused and hang up before or during the questions—which defeats the whole point of the survey.

Step 3: Write Effective Questions

When formulating questions for your IVR survey, you’ll want to ask yourself two questions first: “What kinds of questions will customers actually answer,” and “What kinds of questions will have answers that can actually help us improve our business?”

For obvious reasons, you can’t have one without the other.

Here are some tips for making your customers more interested in your questions:

  • Since IVR surveys are conducted over the phone, make the questions easy to understand the first time they’re heard. Use simple language that customers will be able to decipher even when there’s a potentially garbled connection. Many customers will reluctantly agree to an IVR survey, only to quit halfway through if the questions become too technical or time-consuming.
  • Make your questions as specific as possible, as generic questions are usually less interesting to customers. Consider the questions, “How satisfied were you with your experience,” and “Do you think our ATM fees are too high?” For most people, it would be easier and/or more interesting to answer the second.

Here are some tips for making sure your questions have answers that can lead to real business improvements:

  • Avoid leading questions. It doesn’t do you any good to frame questions in a way that gets customers to give you the answers you want rather than the answers you probably need. Instead, try to frame your questions neutrally—or better yet, don’t frame them at all.
  • Link questions to actual business objectives. Although you don’t want to be asking irrelevant questions, you do want to incorporate questions that are related to your company’s goals. This is another reason why it helps for your questions to be as specific as possible—especially when you’re asking about ways you can improve certain products and services.

Here’s one final tip that will help customers stay interested and help your business improve:

  • Wrap up with at least one open-ended question. This is when you can make an exception about being specific—especially if it’s the final question of the survey, as you’ll have collected everything else already. You can phrase an open-ended question like, “If there’s anything else that you’d like to tell us, please speak your mind after the tone.” With any luck, you’ll get a detailed account of topics or areas that your business can work on.

Step 4: Conduct Your IVR Surveys at the Right Times

Even if you prepare a super engaging survey that’s bound to produce solid feedback, it will all be for naught if you catch your customers at the wrong times.

In general, the most effective way to conduct an IVR survey is to offer one to customers directly after a support call.

This strategy can be a hit or miss, depending on how good your customer service actually is. On the one hand, some customers may be more likely to take an IVR survey if their problems are solved and they had a good experience. On the other hand, if the customer service experience is poor—which, ironically, is when your business would be most in need of a survey—your customers might be too frustrated to provide feedback.

While post-call surveys usually get the best response rates, you can also conduct call-back IVR surveys. If you opt to go this route, here are some things to consider:

  • Place calls on weekends or shortly after business hours, as customers are less likely to take surveys during the workday
  • Take time zones into account to make sure you are calling certain customers at the right times
  • If possible, create a caller contact ID with your business’s name—as fewer and fewer people answer calls from random numbers in 2024
  • Do not call your customers over and over again if they don’t answer the first few times

IVR Survey Results: What’s Next?

Creating and administering a good survey is only half the battle. The other half is analyzing the results and taking appropriate action.

Step 1: Look at Your Data

Even though it’s rather obvious, it’s also worth reiterating that you should wait until all the data comes in before jumping to any conclusions. Since IVR survey results are typically only a small part of a much larger set of call center KPIs, you should wait until you have the full picture before making any substantial changes. Once you have all the survey data, it’s often much easier to analyze things by using dedicated software like Excel and similar tools to create charts, graphs, and other visualizations.

Step 2: Make Emergency Adjustments

Many problems take brainstorming and collaboration to solve, while others don’t. If 20% or more of your survey responses mention a problem on your website or app, such as a glitch in the contact portal, get all hands on deck immediately to get that sucker under control—no planning or forecasting necessary.

Step 3: Collaborate and Plan for Long-Term Improvements

Once emergency problems are out of the way, make a list based on your survey feedback and prioritize the most necessary suggestions for improvement. Gather relevant team members and make a game plan to tackle the list, item by item. Continue monitoring your team’s progress as these improvements begin to manifest themselves.

Step 4: Make Better Surveys

Instead of constantly editing your IVR surveys on a daily or weekly basis, you’re better off treating each survey as a one-and-done thing. Analyze all the data you’ve gathered, make the appropriate improvements, and move on to a new and improved survey. When you have all of the responses from that next survey, simply repeat the process once again. This way, each survey will have its own success rate and metrics, allowing you to see the differences between them and your progress over time much more easily.

IVR Survey Best Practices

Here are five high-level best practices to keep in mind when designing and building an IVR survey. Keep in mind that some of these may overlap with the points listed above.

Best Practice 1: Focus on the Customer

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself what would get you to participate in an IVR survey. As long as you’re not compromising the usefulness of the answers, do whatever you have to do to make the survey better for the customer.

Best Practice 2: Make Sure the Survey Flows

Minimize unnecessary disclaimers, details, and long gaps between sentences. Follow the familiar format of an intro, instructions, questions, and a thank you at the end. The order of events should feel intuitive and logical to your customers.

Best Practice 3: Include Multiple-Choice and Open-Ended Questions

Questions need to be specific, which is why most of them should be quick and to the point—especially the ones at the beginning. That said, your customers will appreciate some variety among the questions, and you should always give them the freedom to give at least one open-ended answer to say whatever is on their minds.

Best Practice 4: Don’t Pressure The Customer

People, especially the stubborn ones, are sometimes more likely to complete a request when they don’t feel like they’re being forced to do so. This is why it can be very helpful to include a line in your survey’s intro, such as, “If at any time you’d like to opt out of the survey, simply hang up the phone, and we will discard your answers.”

Best Practice 5: Refine and Improve Your Surveys

Your very first IVR survey is probably not going to be a home run. Once you’ve finished analyzing the data, make another one—and another one, and another one. Compare the different surveys and continue refining and improving the ones that perform the best.


IVR surveys are notorious for having low participation rates, but it doesn’t have to be that way. At the end of the day, as long as you know who your customers are—and you write questions that actually interest them, and you time your surveys effectively—you’ll see a significant boost in your IVR survey response rate.




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