“Hello. You’ve reached the Wildlife Conservatory. Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed. For hours, press 1. For directions, press 2. For volunteer opportunities, press 3. For information on photography permits, press 4. For special events, press 5. For all other inquiries, treat yourself to an ice cream cone because you’ll be much happier than being on hold for 40 minutes listening to a 30-second clip of elevator music on repeat.”
I hate those menu options too. They drive me nuts.
If your contact information includes an “info” email address, a contact form, and/or a phone number that takes people through multiple prompts before reaching a real person, you’re likely turning people away.
People don’t trust “info” email addresses and contact forms because they don’t think they’re sending an email to a real person. Often, they’d rather leave the site than spend their time writing a message that they think will never be read or responded to.
Similarly with a phone number that leads people through multiple prompts, I can’t think of anyone who’d rather listen to those prompts than talk to a real person. Even if they stick it out through the prompts, they may be annoyed by the time they talk to someone at your organization. This is not the first impression you want them to have.
For your email address, you have several options:
- If there is one person who answers the emails that go to your “info” email address, put their email on your “Contact us” page instead. People are more likely to trust an email that’s going to “firstname.lastname@example.org” than “email@example.com.”
- If you have multiple people checking the “info” email address or contact form submissions, it may not make sense to change it to one person’s email. On your contact page, reassure them that someone will reply to their email and let them know how quickly they can expect a reply.
- Include contact information for specific requests such as media inquiries, information about your services, and volunteer opportunities. Your audience will be happy to send an email directly to the appropriate person. This also reduces the amount of emails to the “info” address that need to be sorted through. Make the “info” email address available as a last resort if their request doesn’t fall neatly into the main categories.
For your phone prompts, take a look at your call volume and types of inquiries you receive. Review these questions:
How many calls do you receive on a daily basis? If you receive a significant number of calls, it’s likely worth it to have prerecorded messages for your frequently asked questions and/or prompts to send callers directly to the staff person who can answer certain questions. If you only receive a few calls per day, you might consider eliminating the prompts and assign one person to answer calls.
For prerecorded messages, do you update them on a regular basis? If not, you may be confusing your callers. Either make sure someone is assigned to update the recordings frequently, or eliminate the recordings altogether.
Can you consolidate any of your prompts? For example, the hours, location, and parking information could likely be one message.
Are there any prompts you should eliminate? For example, if you have a prerecorded message for volunteer opportunities, you’re missing the chance to connect with potential volunteers one-on-one and find a project that meets their skills and interests. Or let’s say you have a prerecorded message with information about photography permits, but you still get a lot of people who want to speak to a live person about that topic. Perhaps your message doesn’t have enough information, or it might be a topic that people need to ask specific questions which requires talking to an actual person.
Do you need to include the sentence, “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed”? Do the same people call so frequently that they actually have your menu options memorized? If not, this explanation may not be necessary.