Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems play a significant role to help contact centers easily manage high call volumes and provide smooth customer journeys.
That’s why IVR became an essential element of modern business phone systems, bringing multiple benefits to call centers, their teams and customers.
Read on to learn more about the IVR and how it can benefit your business in the long run.
What is Call Center Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?
Interactive Voice Response, also called Auto-Attendant, is an automated phone system that allows customers to reach the most appropriate department or agent. It is a set of procedures built to navigate the caller through the system via the use of voice or the telephone keypad.
For example, when calling a company, you have probably heard a message like:
“To reach Customer Support, press 1. To connect with the Sales team, press 2.” Selecting the right option will connect you with the most suitable agent, so you, as a caller, can receive the best customer service possible.
That’s why IVR systems have transformed call centers to work more efficiently while providing an exceptional customer experience.
How Does the IVR System Work?
The IVR is a call center software feature that welcomes incoming callers with a recorded greeting and navigates them through your phone system. When the customer selects a menu option via the phone keypad or the use of voice, the system directs the caller to the next step of the menu.
Thanks to the Call flow design tool you can easily configure both – a simple and a more complex IVR structure. A basic call flow allows only one initial choice, while a multi-level flow allows multiple layers of menus and more precise routing.
Smartly designed IVRs provide information about simple customer requests such as business hours, account balances, contacts, FAQs, schedules, etc. This enables your customers to help themselves which reduces their waiting time, efficiently solves their inquiry and improves customer satisfaction.
If the caller prefers to be assisted by an agent, the IVR automatically routes the call to the most appropriate team. Thanks to the automated call distribution systems (ACDs) all incoming calls are ordered into a queue until an agent is available to answer them. Essentially, the core purpose of the IVR technology is to help your team handle spikes in call volumes while increasing your call center efficiency.
Benefits of Using Interactive Voice Response Systems:
From a business perspective, IVR systems are time-saving and cost-effective. From a customer’s perspective, they provide self-service and quickly solve a problem.
That in return increases the productivity of the call center and team members while influences customer satisfaction.
These are just a small part of the benefits for your business. Below is a list of the main advantages to consider when adopting modern IVR capabilities:
With the intuitive and easy to use software, all you need is an internet connection and a browser. Your IVR is ready to set up at a reasonable budget.
Limitless IVR Options
Create your perfect combination of IVR scripts, menus, and options to deliver a seamless customer experience. You can empower your team to configure, design, and manage both – simple and sophisticated call flows.
Efficient Call Routing
Thanks to the IVRs, customer requests are smartly sorted, prioritized in the queue and routed to the most qualified team. The proper call distribution can significantly increase your overall contact center performance and team productivity.
Receptionists and manual transfers are more inclined to mistakes when your contact center is dealing with high call demands. This, in turn, can be avoided by integrating an automated call routing system at your company.
Thrive with High Call Volumes and Smart Queue Management
IVRs allow you to easily handle spikes in call volumes through providing a Callback option or wait in a Queue. By splitting the traffic and distributing the workloads, your contact center can reduce inbound calls to your agents and waiting time for your customers.
Increased Agent Satisfaction
Automated routing takes care of the most FAQs to your company and saves time for your team. Thus agents are exempt from repeated routine questions and they can focus on more complex customer requests. This increases productivity that directly improves agent satisfaction with the IVR software.
Collect Customer Information through Surveys
Surveys are the easiest way to quickly collect customer data and ask for feedback – e.g. satisfaction from the service, and how to improve it. Further, analyzing IVR data can help your team customize their approach to each customer as per the purpose of their call.
Leverage Self-Customer Support
Customers can obtain information through the IVR menu (such as business hours, address or contacts) and help themselves. Smart self-routing cuts down on wait times and increases customer satisfaction.
Unlimited Customer Access to Your Contact Center
The system is available 24/7 hence your customers can open requests at any time at their best convenience. If you maintain an informative IVR, your callers can access the information they need, no matter working hours, holidays, and breaks.
Personalized Customer Experience
Through IVR systems you can create unique configurations to establish more personal experience with your contact center. That way you can build a better relationship with customers.
Improve the Company’s Image
Professionally greet your customers and show that your company maintains a great service. Providing a consistent IVR experience in alignment with your brand can benefit your company image and credibility.
Save Time and Reduce Costs
The biggest advantage of IVR for SMEs is to save time for your team and money for your company. Self-service optimizes your team performance and satisfies customers even with limited budgets and capabilities. Thus IVRs are not only very affordable and cost-effective but also they reduce operational efforts and provide better ROI.
Increase Company Profits
Automated business phone systems improve customer experience and agent efficiency. Satisfied customers are more likely to buy your products or services. Agents work more productively with the 24-hours IVR support. That way your contact center is set up for success and company profits are boosting.
With so many benefits, IVR systems are essential to companies looking to provide exceptional customer service.
Common IVR Mistakes to Avoid in Your Call Center
IVRs give you pretty much endless possibilities to interact with your customers.
Here’s one thing to note, though: a well-designed system can benefit your team and your clients, but a poorly-constructed one will harm the customer’s experience and your contact center performance. Make sure you avoid the following mistakes while designing an IVR system for your business:
Complicated Call Flow / Menu Options
Creating a complicated menu, with plenty of choices may confuse your customers and they risk getting lost within your system. Overflowing them with too many details may seem efficient, but in fact, around 75% of callers think IVRs force them to listen to irrelevant options. Poorly organized IVR may harm your customer experience, so be careful and design it wisely.
Long Time on Hold or No Call-Back Option
If you’re struggling with high call volumes or unsolved inquiries, give your customers a callback option. They would prefer leaving a voicemail rather than waiting for too long on hold.
Limited Access to Agents
Keep in mind that some of your customers would like to get quick access to agents for help. If you limit the connection with your team, that may be crucial for the customer experience you provide.
Lack of Customer Personalization
It’s not a good practice to send every caller to the same menus and messages without any customization. Prevent them from repeating the same information due to lack of personalized services or more accurate routing options.
Poor Quality Recordings
In some cases, pre-recorded or generated messages are annoying and hard to understand. It’s either because they are not professional recordings, or because cheap software was used. In both cases, such voice prompts are low quality and they can affect provided services.
Unreliable Carrier Service
Your call infrastructure needs to support the IVR system with reliable carrier service. Otherwise, you risk boosting abandoned calls and the entire call flow may be struggling.
Top Tips and Best Practices to Configure a Customer-Friendly IVR System
IVR is a powerful tool to handle high volumes of customer phone requests. When choosing a solution, make sure it’s flexible and customer-friendly. Follow a few easy steps and best practices to design an excellent IVR system:
Use Concise IVR Greetings and Messages
You get only one chance to make a good first impression so it’s therefore essential how you welcome customers on the IVR. Record your unique and pleasant greeting, just make it natural and chummy while remaining professional. Keep your introduction concise at around 8 seconds length and update it regularly for a seamless experience.
Create a Simple IVR Menu:
- Keep around 3 menu options for call steering, and use up to 2 levels of choices.
- A powerful and clear structure so that the customers can easy and quickly solve their inquiries.
- Short, straight to the point menus to reinforce your messaging.
- Simple routing steps so callers spend no more than a few minutes for a call.
- Menus should propose the most frequent selections and high volume services first.
IVR experience is essential for your contact center. Value your customer’s time and offer an excellent service!
Personalize your IVR
Thanks to the benefits of VoIP systems, now it’s easy to create a custom IVR in just a few steps. Consider integrating the IVR into your CRM system to provide more personalized interaction. Use caller ID to record special greetings, messages and language options to give a personal touch. Callplan allows your agents to apply tags on the calls by subject, to reveal patterns about your customers’ behaviour. Therefore, smartly designed IVRs enable your contact center to establish a closer connection with the customers.
Provide a Customer Service Assistance
Even the well-constructed IVR menus have to offer the possibility to speak with an agent. That’s why you need to include a customer service option for specific requests. Give your callers the option to leave a Voicemail or receive a Callback if agents are currently unavailable to assist them.
Test and Optimize IVR Performance
After launching your contact center IVR, you can perform a quality assurance test under real conditions. Understanding customer inquiries and behaviour can help you adjust the structure in the right direction. With Callplan and its Call Flow Designer, you can visually create both – simple and complex scenarios with all the menus and routing steps. Analyzing the performance will help you optimize the IVR experience that your call center provides.
Improve Customer and Agent Experience
What is the best way to measure customer and agent satisfaction? The answer is: through Surveys. The purpose of IVR is to help your callers, but it can also collect their feedback. A brief survey at the end of the call can help you remove confusing or unnecessary components on the menu. If your team is not satisfied with the IVR system, it’s time to gain feedback from agents and identify its weak points. Analyzing the data can help you find the right configuration and optimize it regularly. That’s why listening to your agents and customers is essential in providing a great IVR experience.
Brand Your IVR
When designing an IVR system, consider including professional recordings that correspond to your brand. Select a clear voice for menus and pleasant music for customers on hold. Being able to differentiate your IVR is the right step to ensure brand loyalty and seamless customer experience.
Leveraging the IVR technology is a huge step forward that empowers your contact center while your team thrives. Large and small businesses have adopted IVR because it is a smart opportunity with the potential to generate a huge ROI.
Callplan’s IVR feature can make an impact on your business and influence the customer service that you deliver. Create unique IVR configurations and design compelling call journeys to provide exceptional CX.
Want to find out how easy it is to migrate to an effective IVR system with Callplan?
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