The unpredictability of 2020 is indisputable. The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the world into a surreal reality of sorts. With everyone confined to their homes and the bounds of the internet, industries are slowly transforming their businesses to accommodate the change.
The lockdown has rendered many traditional setups redundant, so businesses are getting creative to maintain cash inflow from their consumers. IVR or Interactive Voice Response is becoming the new channel to process payments. Before we delve into the benefits of IVR and its applications in various industries, let’s take a look at what it consists of:
What is Interactive Voice Response?
Interactive Voice Response refers to a cloud technology that allows contact centres to automatically reroute their calls according to numeric and voice inputs. It reduces human intervention and enhances efficiency in operations. It can be simplified as a four-step process:
- A consumer calls the contact centre.
- An automated greeting will provide them options. For example, “Press 1 for the sales department”.
- The consumer will give their input.
- With the information provided, the system will identify and segment the request, eventually routing the call to the best-suited agent or automated response.
In these trying times, the government has made creative uses of the technology. IVR can now be used to obtain farmer tips, attend an educational session, contribute citizen suggestions to the government, and seek information on COVID-19. Another use of IVR solutions is to make payments.
Since the lockdown has eliminated the chance of making payments in traditional methods, many industries have taken to IVR for the same. Customers can enter voice/ numeric prompts that will be recognized and routed towards a payment processor. This is where a customer can make the final payment using an OTP or one-time password.
Using an IVR number ensures an active payment channel available to quarantined customers who might not have access to the internet. The inflow of information apart, IVR systems are also being used to send out SMS texts and voice calls that serve as a reminder of delayed fees. The text is commonly phrased like this: “Greetings xx, you are behind on your water bill. Reply 1 to this number to activate the payment process.
As we’ve established, there are several spaces in which IVR solutions have acted as a medium to support cash exchange. Let’s address why the process has become such a staple alternative to traditional methods.
Benefits of using IVR for payments
A few years ago, people had to travel to certain locations to settle remittances. With the advent of the internet, more and more individuals began using websites and other channels to accomplish the same. However, it is phone payment that proves to be the most convenient as it requires the least infrastructure and effort. Those who don’t have access to the internet or a computer can rely on their personal device to get pay their bills. There are many more benefits to be reaped of an IVR number:
No time constraint:
A client is free to make use of an IVR number, no matter the time of the day. Since the technology is automated, no employee has to be available to assist the consumer. This provides convenience to not only the caller but also the organisation
Many individuals shy away from novel methods of transactions for fear of losing their money. However, it is less likely for that to be the situation while using IVR than traditional processes. Thanks to call recordings, there is evidence of the success or failure of the transaction.
As mentioned earlier, phone payment processing is an extremely convenient path to choose. It minimises the effort required to travel for payments and does not demand additional infrastructure. No internet, no problem.
No one likes to be dependent on the availability of an agent to accomplish their tasks. With AI integrated IVR, consumers are empowered to complete the process with little to no human intervention. Self-service menus are popular with customers as they are comfortable to use at their will.
Tracking consumer behaviour:
The success or failure of an organisation is reliant on its ability to serve its clients. And the more one knows about their buying behaviour, the better they can be served. IVR and call recordings let companies pinpoint what products or services are popular and where customers are spending money. With this information, a business can designate achievable targets that appease the users.
Gone are the days when transactions were limited to a single channel or medium. Customers now have the option of several portals considering payments. With an IVR number, gaining quantitative records of cash inflow is an effortless process.
A compelling addition to an IVR system is a toll-free number. Toll-free numbers in India begin with 1800 and are a practical solution to streamline the communication of a business. Customers merely need to remember one number that can be contacted for queries of diverse nature. The number is often given recall value with an accompanying jingle. Thus integrating toll free number with IVR is a smart move for every business.
Applications of an IVR number
Once one understands the benefits of an IVR number, it is easy to anticipate the numerous applications of the same. IVR numbers are currently being used in multiple industries for their payment processes. Following are a few examples:
The healthcare industry is the most crucial one in 2020. With the spread of coronavirus rising every day, it is vital for the health industry to function effectively. IVR numbers provide a conducive method of paying for health services during the lockdown. Individuals can consult professionals online and then reimburse the service using phone payment.
Many banks are attaching their duties to an IVR number. Credit and debit card payment and other transactions can be made through the convenience of one’s cellular device. Banks are also collaborating with companies to provide their services to merchant IVRS (systems associated with for-profit organisations).
Payments to be made for flights, taxis, or buses? The ticketing industry is making use of IVR numbers too. Under normal circumstances, one can also use the same method to cover movie tickets. However, in 2020, ticketing services are allowing customers to focus on transportation as a priority. You can use your debit or credit card to pay for transportation.
In times like this, one must ensure that their mobiles are completely functional at all times. Mobile networks in India are using IVR numbers to cater to the needs of their subscribers. Users can now recharge their accounts, make payments and also, raise concerns over the network using IVR technology.
Cooking is now a raging trend as people are cutting down dependence on restaurants for their food. Since everyone is confined to their houses, it is imperative that they have access to gas connections to sustain themselves. Companies are easing the processes for LPG connections with the use of IVR numbers. Customers can book their LPG cylinder simply by calling the companies’ number.
The world has been in a rather precarious state. In such times, lifestyles must attempt to be more cautious yet convenient. Companies are doing the same by simplifying their transactions with their consumers. Payments are now aided by IVR numbers that allow customers to transact from the safety of their own homes. No internet or travel is required to ensure timely remittance. For those who want an effortless, effective and secure method of payment, IVR is the way to go!