February 17, 2020 Last updated March 11th, 2020 650 Reads share

How IVR Services Can Deliver a Great Customer Experience

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Businesses embrace IVR, or interactive voice response, with great joy. No, the customer experience was not the primary goal at first. It was cost-cutting and saving on human resources, as well as shifting the burden to the customer.

It is no surprise that managers then tried to make IVRs as complex as possible to handle any and every possible variation. It led to an extended tree-branch menu structure that left customers gnashing their teeth in rage. The reality was, IVR was not enhancing the customer experience and was in fact hurting businesses.

The fault does not lie with the IVR or the IVR developer, but on how the business implemented it to create a barrier of non-communication. Smart businesses realized the follies of IVR and brought in smart IVR developers to do away with the frustration-causing components and make IVR what it was meant to be: a great customer experience self-service tool.

I Don’t Like Talking With Humans

It’s no surprise in today’s day and age that humans interact poorly with each other. Underpaid and overworked employees can be snippy and irritable; Machines can be cool. Of course, this assumes that the IVR system you put in place is an outcome of plenty of research into behaviors and alignment with customer expectations. IVRs that mimic humans with artificial intelligence voice interactions are even better in smoothing the customer journey. However, there are times when it is unavoidable to talk with a human agent since the menu has no option that meets the requirements of the caller. In this instance, a shortcut to connect to a human agent works best in the middle stages of the IVR journey.

Payments Are a Breeze and Very Secure Too

Imagine being able to dial into an IVR and make payment at any time and from anywhere using your card and without divulging sensitive information to any human agent. Payment IVR solutions when implemented in insurance, electricity utilities, or other services make for an excellent customer experience. IVRs can be set to send out reminders and permit payments at any time. Customers simply punch in card numbers instead of divulging them to a human agent at the other end. This in itself assures security and peace of mind, encouraging more customers to opt for this route knowing that card details cannot be accessed. It helps to rope in a competent payment IVR developer able to deliver a secure encrypted solution.

No Irrelevant Questions

Real people do tend to ask irrelevant questions that can irritate callers. With dynamic programmed IVR, callers can get straight to the point and retrieve precisely the information they need. Take for example something like flight timings and tariffs, or hotel accommodation. When tied to a CRM, the IVR automatically brings up caller details from the database and jump-starts the conversation leading to a faster resolution.

No Waiting

Callers do not have to wait in queue for the agent to pick up the phone. Even if someone does, what usually happens is that the caller may be put on hold or engages in a brief conversation, and then the call is transferred to someone else. With an IVR, there is no need to be put on hold or to be transferred from one CSR to another. Callers can connect right away and get answers to general queries through the IVR. You could include an option for a callback as well. Customers simply dial a number and can even schedule a callback for a convenient time.

It happens that some businesses tend to play a recorded ad before the IVR menu becomes active but this can prove counter-productive. Instead, configuring an IVR to give a welcome message and start the interaction promises better customer satisfaction. In the event that the IVR does not have a suitable response, it automatically diverts their call to an agent who can take it further. This, of course, requires that the IVR solution be properly configured and connected to the CRM for the best customer experience.

Delighting the Customers Even More

Wouldn’t it be nice to jump straightaway to a menu option of the caller’s choice? This is possible in a visual IVR. The majority of people do use smartphones and a visual IVR that spreads the tree-branch structure right on the screen gives users the option to jump straight to the option of their choice or tap on a number to get into talks with an agent. The screen provides information on how long the caller will have to wait for an agent to attend to their call. Multi-lingual capabilities in the visual make it even better.

If and When One Does Talk With an Agent

IVR can improve agent and caller interaction. The simple explanation is that since agents are not annoyed with a large number of unnecessary and routine calls that the IVR handles, they can devote more time and attention to callers. On those occasions when a caller finds it necessary to talk with an agent, the interaction goes much better. The smart IVR you get from a suitable vendor should have capabilities to route calls to a capable agent intelligently.

It is unfortunate that businesses perceived IVR as a cost-cutting tool and a barrier to personal interaction. That perspective is what builds frustration and disgust in customers’ minds. Instead, look at IVR as a better self-service tool and get it developed from the customer perspective and you will be surprised at how delighted customers can be with their IVR experience. Make customers happy with the IVR and they repay you with more business.

customer service rep – DepositPhotos

Akash Soni

Akash Soni

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