Especially in hospitals, financial, and government institutions which tend to communicate a great deal of information and requirements in automated messages--and that heavily rely on an efficient appointment schedules--adhering to simple principles of information communication can help ease both the patient/client and the service provider:
- The more complex the information and the more steps it communicates--the better it is to reduce extraneous noise factors and to keep the communication format consistent. This includes matching the voice, wording, and information throughout the message.
- People listen to different information in different ways. It is helpful to prepare the listener to the automated nature of the message. The Walgreen near me does this well: "This is your Walgreen pharmacy with an automated message about your prescription..." This way, the listener knows the information is coming from a trusted source as well as to "tune into" an automated message style. If the message is about to communicate information the listener might need to write down, it can be helpful to include a prompt stating just that to the listener.
- Some automated messages conclude with an option to reach a live customer service representative by pressing a key on the touch-tone pad. This is a great way to help customer segments like the elderly, heavy of hearing, and plain exasperated individuals get the same information in a way that better fits their needs.
Automation is a great way to increase efficiency, cut costs, and reduce challenges due to individual differences such as accent and speed of speach. However, it is only as good as its implementation. People are used to people's voices--and while automated messages cannot fully imitate human voice is has significantly improved from the days of the robotic voice at the other end of the (rotary) phone. With the great body of research on information recall and comprehension--getting an automated voice mail message right should be a breeze.