•Documentation and PDFs
•Photos and videos (instructional, for example)
The contact center’s primary goal is to help customers who need information, whether that’s completing a transaction, accessing their account or troubleshooting a product they’ve just purchased. Many of these needs don’t require a live agent and can instead be handled with self-service and IVR technology. Here’s how to help your customers help themselves.
Get to Know Your Customers
Determine the main reasons why customers get in touch with support. Then, setup custom IVR channels to handle those queries. Knowing customer requirements and coming up with coinciding self-service strategies will free up agents who usually field the same types of calls all day long. It’s important to track trends over time, too, because as products and services change and evolve, your customers’ needs will as well.
Automate the Simplistic
Simple or mundane tasks should always be included in your IVR menus. Providing customers with company information, like store hours, locations or directions, doesn’t require the help of a live agent. Additionally, tasks like updating account information or making a payment can be handled 100% via self-service. Even some in-depth technical issues can be taken care of with IVR, so long as the step-by-step instructions are clear.
Create Effortless Menus
If you’re offering customers want they need via IVR but they’re still not using it as much as you want them to, it could be because the menu options are too confusing. Company-speak is fine to use internally, but customers won’t understand technical phrases. Menu items should be basic and comprehensible to everyone.
Know When to Escalate an Issue
Self-service is only beneficial as long as the customer wants to handle things on their own. When they get frustrated, it’s time to have a live agent step in and swiftly handle the problem. When a customer is having trouble with IVR (for example, after trying more than once to enter information) or they specifically request to speak with a live agent, they should be transferred as quickly as possible.
IVR positively affects the contact center’s bottom line while providing customers with a communication alternative.
In theory, an IVR system is a great idea. Customers can get personalized support without having speaking with a live agent. When you break the cardinal rules of creating a user-friendly IVR system, though, you risk irritating customers and overloading your agents with live calls.
Too many options are impossible for callers to remember. Menus within menus are confusing and long-winded. Customers will default to speaking with a live agent or choosing options that sound close to what they want just to get on with it.
Name the Department First
The department should always be named before its associated number You may think that a caller will easily remember to “press 1 for sales,” but “for sales, press 1” is much more fool-proof. This makes it easier for the caller to associate the number with the department. Otherwise, they’ll have to repeat the menu or just opt to speak to a live agent.
Allow Extra Time
It’s great when an IVR system can access detailed customer information, like an account number or tracking information. However, it’ll take the customer a moment to jot that number down. Give them a few extra seconds, say the number twice and offer a way for the customer to have the information repeated. If the customer misses the one detail they called in for, the IVR system hasn’t done its job.
Don’t Hang Up
Some IVR systems will automatically disconnect the call if the wait is too long. Even if there’s a lengthy queue and the caller will need to wait for a long time, it can be more frustrating to get hung up on. Some callers prefer waiting instead of having to call back at a future time, even if the wait time will be shorter. Offer a callback option that will hold their place in line and ring them when an agent is available.
Maintain the Same Voice
The same voice – a human voice, not a robot one – should be used throughout the entire IVR system. Switching voices is distracting and the caller may not focus on what is being said as much as the new voice. Maintaining the same voice throughout each menu and option is the most professional option.
AI integrations like IVR can be incredibly helpful for the contact center, so long as they make less work for agents.
According to CustomerThink.com, customers are four times more likely to go to a competitor because of poor customer service than because of product features or price. Companies that want to set themselves apart from the competition will improve the customer experience by reducing wait times and solving problems faster. Contact centers are utilizing IVR systems to streamline customer-to-brand correspondence.
What is IVR?
IVR stands for “interactive voice response.” These automated systems have pre-recorded responses that help serve the customer to quickly and methodically meet their needs. The primary benefits of IVR systems are:
1. Important information about the customer and the query is collected.
2. Wait times are reduced because customers can solve problems on their own.
3. When necessary, calls are routed to the agent who can best address the customer’s needs.
How to Choose IVR Technology
Some IVR systems have more functionality and are more effective than others. Choosing the right one for your contact center will allow you to best serve the needs of current and prospective customers. Keep these three recommendations in mind when shopping around for an IVR system.
1. There needs to be a seamless transition between the automated system and live agents. The IVR system you choose should gather data and have that data ready if a live agent has to take over. The customer shouldn’t have to repeat themselves.
2. Simplicity is important. IVRs needs to be uncomplicated and options should be easy to navigate. Moreover, complicated transactions shouldn’t always be automated. Once the system determines that the customer has a complex issue, the call should be redirected to a live agent who can handle in-depth inquiries.
3. Even if the customer is going to solve their problem using the IVR system, they shouldn’t be faced with a lot of work to do. Beginning-to-end, customer effort has to be as limited as possible. IVR systems shouldn’t take a lot of time to get through.
When selecting an IVR system, contact centers should do their research to ensure they’re getting the features that are important to customers. Automated systems should make the agent’s job easier while improving the customer experience.