Which Comes First: Options Or Actions?

Hey, there!

I really extol the virtues of being of high value to your VO clients.

If you offer not only great voicework, but also care about the quality of the programs in which your clients use your voice work, you’ll solidify your value to them – and they’ll come back to you time and time again for more work.

Here’s one way to make your IVR clients love you: make sure their scripts make their IVR programs easy for callers to use.

You’ll often hear people give examples of IVR as being phone programs that go like this: “Press one for sales, press two for service.” And although that phrase is great for instant recognition of what an IVR program does, it’s a bad example of what an IVR program should sound like to the caller.

In fact, you should always offer the caller a description of the option BEFORE you give them the action they need to perform to choose that option. Don’t say this:

Press one for service, press two for sales.
Hit the pound key to return to the main menu.
Tap the star key to repeat these options.

Why? Because you’re asking someone to listen to an entire sentence just to get to what it is you are allowing them to do, and by the time they process whether or not they even want to take advantage of that option, there’s a good chance they will have forgotten what you told them to do to make that happen in the first place.


Instead, offer the action AFTER you tell them the option, like these re-written versions of the examples above:

For service, press one. For sales, press two.
To return to the main menu, press the pound key.
To repeat these options, press the star key.

Offer to go over your clients’ scripts to check for these snags. They’ll love you for it.

Hope this helps.


6 Responses to Which Comes First: Options Or Actions?

  1. Tracy Elman October 8, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    So true and important. Too many company messages need to be rererorded out there.

  2. Emma January 1, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Such a simple fix, yet yielding significant rewards. Excellennnnnnt!

  3. Rob Marley January 4, 2016 at 7:09 am #

    Its an easy thing to overlook, but just a little tweak in the script can make all the difference. Thanks, David!

  4. David Wandelt October 5, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    Long story short: I did a job recently where the script was far too long for the duration of the video they already had in the can. They hadn’t worked from a scratch track. I recorded it as written, but then said, “I don’t think this is what you’ll want.” I then rewrote that portion without modifying the essential message, and re-recorded it. He was very pleased, and I believe I have gained a loyal customer by adding that kind of value.

  5. Dick Marendt October 5, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

    When I get a script which mentions company hours, if they include either “Daylight Saving Time” or “Standard Time” I always suggest that we change it to “Central Time” or whichever zone they’re in. That way they don’t have to remember to change the message twice a year.

  6. Leslie Anne Ligon October 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm #

    Wowsers, that was worth the ticket price — thank you for the great tip!

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