As soon as you dial a helpline number, chances are that you’re greeted by a prerecorded message, one that guides you step-by-step for a solution. This pre-recorded message is played via an Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Since the IVR takes care of the entry-level communication that takes place with customers, it plays a major role in the first impression that is left on the callers.
We’ve all at some point in time experienced an IVR service, and realised that while some systems are easier to navigate, there are others which are extremely complex and more often than not, end up confusing us.
Here is where businesses should take note—when they avail IVR services from any provider, they must ensure clarity and ease of navigation for their customers. After all, your customers’ first interaction with your brand is through IVR. The aim should be to provide smooth, automated assistance for a happy customer experience.
Here are 7 traits that you should ensure the IVR has before making a choice:
(1) Does it Streamline with your Brand’s Ethos?
An IVR system is in place to make your communication and business workflows easier. While choosing servers for your business, you need to make sure that its outreach programme will be beneficial for your business.
The IVR should come with facilities for an automated response after office hours, a voice-recording system, availability during holidays and features for service quality assessment as well.
It will also prove to be extremely beneficial if it aligns with your brand, what it stands for and highlights the perfect brand image. After all, a well designed IVR has the power to make or break your brand.
(2) How well can it Route a Call and Customer’s Information?
If your customer calls on the helpline number to inquire about the latest offers on their account, and your IVR system routes them to the complaint department, chances are that the next time they will avoid dialing the helpline number altogether.
Hence, it is extremely imperative that your IVR has the ability to route calls to the right department and not end up leaving your customer baffled. Similarly, if your customers have entered all their details previously, whether at the beginning of the call or somewhere along the way, asking them to repeat the same information will leave them irritated. A well designed IVR should also decrease the hold time and enhance customer experience.
Each company in today’s time is striving to deliver exceptional customer experience. So, if your customers can’t reach you with comfort and ease, it is highly likely that they will consider switching to your competitor more often than you think.
(3) How Effective is It in Recognising Speech?
Speech recognition is an important factor to consider while choosing the right kind of IVR service. The ‘one size fits all’ mentality definitely does not work in today’s scenario. The IVR service should efficiently recognise more than just single words and point the customer in the right direction.
An effective speech recognition system will escalate the issue and provide a fast solution, which will mean higher query resolutions, thereby leading to effective time management. Another benefit of having such a facility is that it’ll help the customers in the direction specific to their query, without wasting much of their time.
(4) How Well does It Personalise Caller Information and List Offers?
Since IVR is an automated response, it lacks the ‘human touch’ of a representative. But that can definitely be made up with a seamless system in place. For that, your IVR service should be as accurate as customer support agents when it comes to providing solutions. Personalisation within customer experience will help a great deal to achieve this.
Your customers should be well-informed about personalised, upcoming offers as well as potential upgrades. An effective IVR should be able to tap into a customers’ details and proceed with targeted communication.
(5) Does it Provide a Live Agent Option?
It may happen that sometimes the listed IVR options may not be able to guide your customers to the solution they are looking for. Just pushing buttons may not generate enough relevant information for your user. In such a case, the system should be able to connect callers with live agents to ensure that their query has been resolved.
A well-rounded IVR should be able to promptly address all issues, if not via the automated system, then through a live agent. After all, there is no better experience than effective communication.
(6) Does it Keep the Menu Options Open for Long Enough?
When asked about IVR experiences, most callers recall frustration and extremely long wait times. Moreover, they are likely to avoid the self-help option if their first experience was not pleasant. Here, the key is to design the system effectively to deliver smooth primary experiences.
Furthermore, another important aspect here is the time duration provided after each automated response. Sometimes, it may happen that your customers are trying to gauge in which category does their problem fall. If, while making that decision, the menu collapses and the calls gets disconnected, the customers might refrain from going over the whole process again.
Thus, it is highly recommended to allow a window of at least twenty seconds for users to feed their responses. Remember, an IVR system is in place to manage your business and customers seamlessly and not the other way around.
(7) Does it Avoid Upfront Messages?
Nobody wants to hear information that might not even be relevant to them in the first place. If your customers are bombarded with promotional spam calls, right after calling your helpline, it ruins your chances of delivering an effective experience.
Likewise, if marketing and advertising messages are just shot upfront, without even addressing a customer’s query, all your efforts are futile. This will result in two things:
- Poor customer service
- Ineffective marketing communication, which will help neither of the stakeholders
An effective IVR system also prioritises calls based on their value, provided your system is designed that way. For example, calls that are from high-value customers should be prioritised and routed to the expert in the field, or the best suited agents to resolve the query.
Most of the time, the problem is not the IVR technology, rather its the design. As a necessary prerequisite, make sure to test your solution. While in the testing stages, make it a point to look at and interact with the design of the system from a customer’s point of view instead of an owner’s. Your IVR will, then, be a notch higher.
Also, keep in mind to not confuse your customers with multiple options. The communication should be clear, crisp, simple and in terms that are easy to comprehend. Break down the automated voice sentences into smaller parts and allow enough time between the options.
Another important aspect is to keep the design of your IVR up-to-date with changing times. An IVR is an enhanced customer service tool and should be used like one. Versatility and being dynamic will help out businesses in the long run, when it comes to retention.
Before you go, here is why you should invest in an IVR service:
- It aims at providing a holistic and seamless customer service experience.
- It can provide additional information to customers that might come handy to them.
- It can handle large calls volumes, without missing out on potential, happily serviced customers.
- It saves business costs, as a large infrastructural set-up is not required.
- It is an efficient way to address your customers’ needs, both via automated response and agents.
- It helps in analysing and reviewing data for a better customer service experience and customisation.
- It boosts customer delight, if designed correctly and in alignment with what the company stands for.
- A neatly defined and well set-up IVR increases the chances of effective communication, customer retention and professionalism.
If you are looking to invest in an IVR service, contact our sales team today at 1800-11-3333.