The meaning of Interactive voice response or IVR is an automated system that interacts with the caller. The caller hears the IVR system menu, presses keys on the phone as prompted by the IVR, and the system responds appropriately. On the basis of the responses provided by the caller, the IVR either provides the required information or directs the call to the appropriate call centre agent or department.
An IVR call is essentially an inbound call and the system can be customised based on the specific needs of your business. An Interactive voice response system makes your call centre more productive and efficient and saves you a lot of money in the process.
Live agent time is then better utilised fielding complex problems and not on simple queries that an IVR system can handle. It also creates a more professional customer experience. Leading cloud telephony providers like Servetel can set up the most cutting-edge IVR systems for you.
IVR number also improves first call resolution, a key metric in measuring call centre performance. The solution can make the system agent-less to a great extent, saving a lot of live agent time. IVR call flows can be as simple or complex as required, but the essential goal remains the same—to automate processes.
These are 5 kinds of calls that can be easily automated using an IVR system.
1) Bill payments
Does a customer really need to speak with an agent to pay a bill? This kind of call is a prime candidate for IVR-based automation. Not only is this kind of call extra work for the agent, but it’s also a drain on the customer’s time.
After the customary greeting, the agent has to pull up the payment details. Then the payment options have to be figured out and the payment has to be processed. The credit card details have to be read out or punched in by the customer, after which the payment will be processed. The call centre agent may ask the customer to wait for some time for a confirmation of payment.
That is several unnecessary steps. This type of call also increases First Call Resolution time. After all, it is to the call centre’s advantage if issues can be sorted rapidly and calls don’t become too long in duration.
With IVR technology you can completely automate this process. Customers can pay their bills quickly and agent time can be used more productively. All that the customer has to do once they call up is follow automated prompts. No more waiting around for agents to answer the call.
2) Customer feedback
Customer feedback is extremely crucial for any business to improve its offerings, as well as to measure call centre performance. An IVR survey can be done right after the live call with an agent is over. If not, then ideally the feedback should be gathered within 24 hours of the issue resolution and a request can be sent out for the same after the call.
This is especially important for organisations where customer feedback is crucial to improving their functioning. Also, instead of wasting precious agent time talking to a customer and collecting the feedback, which may also be too subjective in nature, an IVR number can do the job seamlessly.
3) Automate simple queries
A lot of calls made to call centres do not require a live agent to address them. Checking the account balance and inquiring about the status of orders are two prime examples.
In fact, IVR can create a better customer experience for such calls. Of course, such information is now available through online platforms and apps as well but that doesn’t work for customers who are not so tech-savvy and still prefer to call a company directly to avail services or get some information.
It is worth noting that agents may not always be able to handle such queries swiftly because sometimes servers are slow and it can take time to pull up the requested information.
When calling on an Interactive voice response system, customers will be prompted to let the system know what information they are seeking and then be guided along the right path. With IVR the information can be pulled out of the database instantly and conveyed to the customer.
4) Automate call back requests
Call centres are often overwhelmed with more callers than they can handle. An interactive voice response system can not only tell customers what their expected waiting time is, but it can also, through prompts, allow them to request a callback.
This saves precious time for customers who can go and accomplish other things instead of waiting for the call to be answered. With an option in the system to hold the caller’s place in the queue, the call is answered in a timely fashion. At the call centre end, this can help improve the First Call Resolution rate, a key metric in measuring call centre performance.
5) FAQ calls
This is another category of calls that can be easily automated using Interactive Voice Response. In fact, certain queries can be answered better with an IVR as the answers will be precise and accurate. Sometimes the responses of live agents can be quite subjective.
Detailed, pre-recorded instructions can also be very helpful in solving commonly occurring issues. Suppose a customer’s satellite TV is not working properly. The IVR setup can direct the customer to follow certain steps to troubleshoot the issue. If the problem is too complex to be solved easily, the customer will eventually be directed to a customer care agent.
At this point, the agent’s time will be used well since the problem is now at a stage where the intervention of a live agent is genuinely required. Any minor problem would have been taken care of by the IVR system already.
For the rest, the IVR itself will direct the call to the agent best suited to address the query. For this to run smoothly, the IVR setup of course has to be excellent and should be tested frequently for quality control and improvement.
IVR pitfalls to avoid
Your interactive voice response system has to be top-notch, otherwise, instead of a smooth ride, what the customer will get is a glitch-filled experience which is actually more frustrating than having to deal with a live call centre agent.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The call flow should not be overly complicated. A poorly designed IVR setup filled with irrelevant options can actually ruin the customer experience. Keep it simple and straightforward.
- Don’t have a long hold time. Anything over a minute can result in bad customer experience and reflect poorly on call centre performance.
- The voice prompts have to be of good quality and easy to understand. It is worth investing in a good voiceover since you’ll reap the dividends for a long time to come.
- Even with the best IVR system, it should be possible to speak with a live agent if required. So do not automate it fully.
Interactive voice response is one of the best ways to automate processes at a call centre without losing productivity or compromising on the customer experience. Many customers also prefer the anonymity of an IVR number to dealing with a call centre agent. It also requires less of their attention, allowing them to multi-task.
Besides specific calls that can be automated, IVR solution provides a host of advantages. It reduces average call time by 40 per cent. This prevents waiting customers from abandoning the call in frustration. IVR solution can keep the customer engaged until the next agent becomes available.
The solutions provided by an IVR benefit both the company and the customer.
- For instance, it leads to better customer service and a better customer experience. With an IVR system, customers get the sense that they have been better attended to.
- The customer also gets a sense of having unlimited access to the company, since the IVR is always available, be it the weekend or a holiday or beyond office hours. And all this without you having to put any effort into the call.
- With CRM integration, the IVR system can also be programmed to provide personalised greetings, which customers love.
On the call centre side, an IVR system increases productivity, since calls that don’t require a live agent are addressed by the IVR itself. For the rest, the IVR routes the calls to the correct departments, saving precious time. By reducing the volume of the calls, it also makes the live calls less prone to error, since agents are less strained. The agents are also freed from addressing mundane queries, which boosts their morale and sense of self-worth.
So don’t hesitate to get a good IVR system today and automate calls that don’t require a live call centre agent. Call Servetel at 1800-103-6989 today.