How to Improve Your IVR System

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.

Simplify Options

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.

How to Improve the Customer Experience with Optimal IVR Systems

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.