Say or Press 1 – A happy hybrid or a problematic pairing?

Common Sense Tip of the Day:

It seems simple to blend speech and DTMF functionality in your contact center applications, but from a caller’s perspective, using “say or press” usually raises more problems than it solves. While flexible navigation and mobile phones make speech more constructive and quite enticing, accuracy and security make DTMF more acceptable to many audiences.

Start by considering your applications, and make the choice to include speech only where it truly makes sense. Where DTMF is preferred or more acceptable to your callers, stick with it. Security codes, pins, and account number are things we all like to keep private, rather than being forced to call them out on the commuter train headed home.

When using speech you should convey a concept. Speaking a digit that represents your concept can be a difficult association for a caller. For example, in a speech only menu, you should avoid prompts like “To hear your account balance, say 3.” Callers will want to say “balance” and are perfectly willing to press 3. Mixing the two up makes for an application that’s not terribly intuitive.

If you make the choice to use “say or press”, consider its impact on longer menus. If you’re faced with several “say or press” numerical options, you might begin truncating the menu. For example:

For checking, say or press 1.
For savings, say or press 2.
For funds transfers, 3.
Investments, 4.
If you’d like to speak with an operator, say or press 0.

Doing so allows the prompt to feel less repetitious and tedious to the caller, and does expedite them through the system.

If you’re considering using “say or press”, please consider Walsh Media’s consulting services. We’d love to work with you on script that helps create an appropriate, efficient and user-friendly environment! Contact us for more information at or 1-800-454-6453.

Recording phone calls

Common Sense Tip of the Day:

Your call may be monitored or recorded.

This statement has been true since before the telephone started ringing. Moments after the telegraph was invented in the mid-1800s, so too was “wiretapping”. Not until 1968 did the US Congress pass laws which restricted the use of wiretapping. But today general and industry-specific federal and state laws regarding recorded telephone calls abound! We highly recommend you consult your legal department regarding compliance for your location(s). 

The ‘notice of recording’ phrase is common to almost every application – so common callers often pay it no attention. Walsh Media encourages you to think about what and when you should say this phrase. Here’s an example, “Your call may be monitored and/or recorded for quality and training purposes.” What are “quality purposes”? Do you need to say the purpose for which you’re recording the call?

Try this:  “Your call may be monitored and/or recorded.” Too bare bones? Then use “To assure quality service your call may be monitored and/or recorded.” After you decide what verbiage to use, remember to record it in all of the necessary languages.

Finally, consider when callers should hear the notice of recording statement. When does your company start recording? If only the conversation between an agent and a caller is being recorded consider putting the statement prior to transfer (to the agent or the queue). If the caller stays in the automation they don’t need to hear it.

To discuss these and other Common Sense Solutions, just reach out! We’d be happy to discuss your concerns! Contact us at or 1-800-454-6453.

Customer Service

Common Sense Tip of the Day:

It’s time to put the “service” back in “Customer Service”. The idea of what makes service to the customer superior has changed over time. First, it was the simple act of answering the phone. If you picked up…success! Your customer was in fact satisfied. Then it was using the queue to inform about products or services you offer. You made their hold time more interesting…fantastic! Now, not only do you have to be available for their inquiries, but they also want to know, accurately, how to get their issue resolved as quickly as possible. And, believe it or not, callers don’t always require a human to feel satisfied they’ve reached resolve.

One way to approach this is to spend more of the time in queue on issue resolution. Sure, it’s okay to mention products and services some of the time, but when you can make self service faster by re-directing them, do so. If they need information available for a representative, have them prepare it so the live interaction goes more fluidly. And, share your knowledge. If something big has happened that impacts your business, you can use that queue time to clear confusion. Back that up with knowledgeable representatives answering calls, and your customers shouldn’t just be satisfied…they should feel confident in you.

The act of providing a quality customer experience is a living, evolving process. What was “golden” years ago, is below the mark today. Know about your company’s current customer service efforts, watch the trends for experiences you do and do not enjoy, and consider new ways to bring convenience to your callers. Your customers are always evolving and you don’t want their experiences with you to leave you in the dust.

If you’d like to learn more, please give us a call at 1-800-454-6453 or visit

Rephrasing for success

Common Sense Tip of the Day:

Are you asking the right questions, in the best UI, and in the right way?

Questions can be a useful component of your applications, but they do need to be posed carefully for the greatest success.

As our audiences have become more comfortable using speech, it’s sometimes their first inclination. If you query: “Is that the correct account number?  If yes, press 1; if no, press 2.”  Your callers may become frustrated by a perceived lack of functionality when they inadvertently respond verbally rather than via touch tone.

The solution?  Change the question into options:  “If that’s the correct account number, press 1; if not, press 2.”

Speech is ideal for asking questions, but when a question is meant to elicit a specific response, your caller may provide the wrong data. Take the question: “Do you have your account number available?”  Some callers will say, “Yes”, some will say, “No” and some will say the account number.  Which is the correct response?

If “Yes” is correct, the system will need to authenticate the caller. If “No”, you’ll need to go through alternate means to locate it, or your caller will have to dial back. And if they just spit out the number and you’re not equipped to recognize and move on, get ready for error recovery.

When in doubt, choose a better question!  “What’s your account number? (silence) Or say I don’t have it.”  With this you account for “Yes” responses, those who have the number, and also those who do not.

And just a quick word on the value of “have” v. “know”: people typically don’t like to admit that they “don’t know” something, but don’t mind saying that they just “don’t have” it handy. It’s a small and subtle way you can go the extra mile in improving the customer experience!

Let’s talk about more ideas! You can reach us at 1-800-454-6453 or just email