I am blessed to gain lots of new clients every week who either approach me due to being referred by a colleague of theirs, or many come my way by way of Google searching and landing on my website. However, in addition to fresh new clients, I am also blessed to have a full roster of loyal and wonderful clients whom I record for regularly every few months, each week, and some every day. One reason that I work so easily with the same people again and again (and the reason that most new clients start off on a right note with me) can boil down into something as simple as the system in which they write their prompts for me; the way they present the prompts in an organized manner on the page; and even the program they use to construct their IVR trees.
This can be best illustrated by indicating formats *which do not* work well for me — the first is what I call “The Corleone Family Tree”:
This system of mapping out your prompts is extremely beneficial in getting your thoughts organized and making sure all mailboxes, possible options, and various directions the caller can potentially take are clearly planned for. It makes me break out in a cold sweat if it’s sent to me in this format to record, as these types of schemograms frequently have instructions, directions and notes mixed in with the actual text you want me to record — and some of that is not easy to suss out. *Please* use this form of diagram as a way for you and your IVR team to map out what you need — to send it to your voice talent, send only the prompts you need — verbatim, written exactly as you want us to voice them. If there must be notes, make sure they are separate from the recordable text and easily discerable as such.
The next example of what your script should *not* look like is what I call “Notepad Hell”:
Can you tell where one prompt is supposed to end the next begins? Neither can I. Documents done in Notepad morph into one big horriffic run-on sentence. It should be avoided at all costs unless the separations between each prompt is made crystal clear.
My final least favorite format is when a spreadsheet is used as a word processor:
The sentence in Cell 11 actually goes on for about six pages horizontally. Use Word to type your script, as opposed to a spreadsheet, which is actually intended for short snippets of stats and figures and not word processsing.
My favorite format for receiving scripts: straight up Word format:
It’s easy to see that each prompt is encased in its own text box — there’s no guesswork involved, and virtually no confusion about what is considered a “prompt”.
Constructing your IVR scripts in the simplest, clearest way can go a long way to ensuring that I record exactly what you need, saving you time, and sparing aggravation on both sides.
We’ve covered scripting this week; next week, in Part 2 of Traits of my Favorite Clients, I’ll talk less about the technical framework of the scripts, and more about other factors which make most of my clientele a dream to work with!