8 Best Practices to Follow for Designing an IVR

ivr design best practices

According to a recent report, “ Vast majority of consumers prefer to call local businesses. In fact, this has grown since we asked the same question back in 2016 – where 41% preferred calls, 20% emails, and 19% visiting the business.

The report suggests that a rising number of customers call a business directly to collect information and resolve customer service issues. However, some of these customers prefer talking to a real person, while others look for options to resolve customer service issues on their own. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions help a business to boost customer service experience by allowing callers to choose from two distinct options – talk to a live agent and self-service.

Most business these days leverage IVR solutions to automate customer service delivery and curtail customer service cost. But no business can increase customer experience and loyalty without reducing the percentage of abandoned calls.

By using cloud-hosted IVRs, businesses can optimise the calling process to ensure maximum customers are satisfied with the calling experience. Below are eight such IVR optimisation best practices that can boost customer satisfaction dramatically.

8 IVR Design Best Practices to Boost Customer Experience

1. Connect Callers to Live Agents 

Self-help options provided by the IVR system enable callers to resolve customer service issues on their own without live agent’s interference. However, many callers still prefer interacting with a real person instead of using self-service options when it comes to complicated customer issues.

Thus, IVR should provide customers with “interact with an agent” option. A followed practice is to provide this option on “press 0” button. The option will help to reduce call abandonment rate significantly.

2. Make the IVR System Sound Clear and Human

It is a proven psychological fact that we deduce our feelings, attitudes, and beliefs about what someone says not only by the words they use but also by their tone of voice and body language.

Unlike customer service agents, an automated IVR has a dull tone while interacting with customers and neither can they boost customer conversation using body language or facial interaction. But business has the option to keep callers engaged by ensuring the message is clear and voice is human-like.

To make this easy for business, cloud telephony service providers give the option to get message recorded from a professional voice over artists or choose from a variety of pre-defined voice templates.

3. Restrict Menu Options to 30 Seconds

Most customers abandon IVR solutions that are difficult to access and navigate. While designing a custom IVR solution, they must focus on simplifying menu options. They should ensure that the menu doesn’t have any irrelevant or unnecessary options.

Also, they must prioritise the menu options according to the importance and frequency of customer’s needs. The systematic organisation of menu items prevent customers from navigating through extra levels and options. Simple menu structure helps customers to resolve issues or collect information promptly and without any hassle.

4. Minimise Call Hold Time

No business should waste customers’ time by playing promotional messages or advertisement once the call is connected. Design your IVR in such a way that minimises the call hold time and helps the caller to get the resolution faster.

Ensure IVR options are easy and direct so that customers are not confused while navigating the IVR. Also, IVR should provide an additional option to jump back to the previous and main menu when a customer mistakenly presses the wrong input.

5. Enable Customer Callback

Often customers feel frustrated and abandon the IVR System when they have to wait longer to communicate with live agents. The new age IVR systems help businesses to improve customer service experience by offering callback option. It enables callers to request a callback instead of waiting on hold.

Proving to be a win-win solution for both, it allows the agent to call the customer as per their availability without disappointing the customer. While designing the IVR solution, the decision-makers must present the call back option if the call hold exceeds a minimum time limit.

6. Emphasise on First Call Resolution

In addition to providing the call routing and forwarding options, cloud IVR solutions also support skill-based call routing. A business can take advantage of this feature to resolve customer services issues on first contact or interaction by transferring the call to the best-suited agent, department, extension, or call queue. The first call resolution drastically improves customer satisfaction and reduces customer churn.

7. Don’t Divert Callers to Other Communication Channels

Customers these days contact a business through multiple communication channels. But the customers who call a business directly prefer telephone to other communication channels. While designing or customising the IVR system, the decision-makers must not divert callers to other channels like websites, mobile apps or chatbots. Redirecting them to another channel can make the customer’s furious and cause disappointment.

8. Test the Custom IVR Solution before Implementation

A business cannot assess the IVR solution’s performance accurately without testing it. The test results help the decision-makers to identify the modifications and enhancements required to speed up customer service delivery and minimise customer effort. The business can even perform A/B testing to select the right messages and prompts. Also, perform load testing to keep the IVR system functional despite surge in incoming call volume.

The lucrative growth of interactive voice response market suggests the importance of the automated telephone systems in the age of omnichannel customer communication. But many customers these days abandon a business or brand due to poor customer service experience. IVR is a boon for such companies that struggle to deliver superior customer service. Businesses must fine-tune the IVR solutions at regular intervals to meet customer expectations and prevent customer abandonment.

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