In today's changing business scenario, the competition among companies has changed. A large factor determining a firm's success in the marketplace is the customer experience (CX) that the brand provides. Customers relate a good CX with good support. Hence, it is necessary to find novel ways of engaging with the customers to their ease. With the advent of more significant technological know-how on the clients' part, many look for self-service. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a tool that allows customers to skip the hassle of wait times, and unnecessary agent interaction, and get quick solutions. Thus, it becomes necessary to look into IVR optimization to get the company to a higher growth curve and improve the IVR containment rate.
With Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, callers are able to interact with computers, which can gather information and route calls appropriately.
When IVR is deployed for inbound calls, it is important to create more efficiency so that some of the calls can start and finish in the IVR itself and is not handed off to a live agent/rep. IVR containment rate is the ratio of the total no of calls contained within the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to the total inbound calls received by the IVR. One key objective of IVR optimization should be to improve the IVR containment rate.
No customer likes waiting for long times on a call. Most of the incoming queries are routine and mundane. For this reason, it is advised not to unnecessarily keep the customer on hold or provide them with an extensive range of options. The menu options ideally need to be kept between 4 and 5. The business should allow them to replay the current menu narration or go back to the previous menu. Finally, IVR optimization works best when an analysis of these choices is performed. This is to organize options in the order they are most frequently used. From the IVR reports, the most frequent options can be found and the IVR menu can then be optimized.
Employees or teams should be deputed to regularly listen to the IVR scripts used in the company's proceedings. Their function would solely be to seek out loopholes and gaps in the information relayed by the IVR scripts. IVR optimization can be done further if the teams regularly update the scripts by adding more to them or removing parts when a new product is launched or discontinued. A record should also be kept of what choices customers seek out the most, and at which point in the interaction they hang up. The IVR greetings should be updated according to the ongoing festival, new offers or specific campaigns.
Based on call volume and agent availability, we recommend strategizing IVR deflection to a non-voice channel like Whatsapp or Visual IVR/ digital self-service. The caller will be greeted and suggested to get a digital self-service by pressing one of the numbers. The caller can send a link to Whatsapp or Visual IVR, where the caller can chat with a live agent or manage the various options displayed on the browser of Visual IVR. This is a smart way to reduce the load of live calling agents and provide a better experience to customers as they don’t have to wait in long queues.
With the growing influence of the internet, businesses need to be accessible across various platforms and channels. This helps the company be more visible. But it also puts the customer at ease knowing they have multiple ways to contact the firm for support and other purposes. The key to achieving a higher CX is to keep the brand messaging and motif the same across all platforms, including the IVR. IVR optimization helps here as the business can use it to promote a particular product or broadcast a specific commitment in the company policy. The options should remain similar and should use the same language or set of phrases across all channels.
Often, customers will seek more than an immediate solution or have a legitimate issue that cannot be solved without an agent. They may sometimes also directly want to speak to a live agent. It is advised that the company make it easy to reach the agent via the IVR for such purposes. In most scenarios, it has been seen that keeping the option to reach an agent beyond level 3 or level 4 usually makes the customer hang up. This negatively affects the customer experience. Thus, managers should do IVR optimization in a way that they are also not greeted by an agent at the very beginning as it will increase the agent workload.
Obviously, a business needs to continually change and adapt to the marketplace's needs to stay competitive. However, it does not mean that customers need to always see or be made aware of technical changes. In most cases, such changes have no bearing on how the customer conducts a transaction with the company whatsoever. But sometimes, with the introduction or removal of new products or services, it becomes necessary to make changes to the IVR system and other similar tools. Customers often become familiar with the flow of things or a particular way options are organized. Thus, they should not be discomforted by repeating their choices or looking for an option because their position has been changed.
Even with the most efficient IVR systems and organizations, there will be moments when clients might have to wait on hold. Providing customers with the correct options and directions in the IVR opening menu is the solution to this problem. As part of the IVR optimization process, the company can include a message that informs how long the customer will have to wait in real-time. This can be done by informing the caller’s queue position in the waiting queue. This can help the customer keep realistic expectations and not feel frustrated in the middle of the process. In some cases, the company can provide the customer with an option to be called back. That way, traffic can also be managed, and the customers will not be required to stay stuck on the phone for the entire period.
The IVR can be personalized as it can detect the caller from the Caller ID. So it can identify the caller, greet the caller with the caller’s first name and can also do any transaction – like knowing the status of delivery or refund etc. in a hassle-free manner.
Artificial intelligence (AI) powered speech-based Interactive Voice Response is becoming popular as it can deliver a better experience. However, some inputs like customer ID or Zipcode can be entered by the DTMF keypad. So, it is more like a voice bot and the client doesn’t have to wait to hear all the menu items but can state the purpose of calling into the call center. The Interactive Voice Response can suggest the options available or guide the caller to a live agent. This will make sure that customers are able to solve their issues faster or independently. AI-driven IVR systems can be trained to provide intelligent and independent responses to the raised queries.
Therefore, IVRs are a fundamental asset for customer support. Enhancing the experience that you offer via an IVR can create a key difference in your brand image. Customers often feel repelled to calling support because most companies often ignore their IVR flow and don't improve it over time.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.