When talking about call center services, efficiency and cost savings are 2 factors that are usually included in this conversation. “How can we make this faster and cheaper?” is the one-million-dollar question. And most of the tools we use for customer service do both of these, with the added improvement to customer satisfaction.
IVR is one of these tools; it is an easy and practical way to make sure your customers are always talking to who they wish to talk to. Too simple of an explanation? Read on and find out why this tool is essential to add to your contact center services.
What is an IVR Solution?
Interactive Voice Response or IVR is a call routing tool. This means it is designed to reroute customer calls depending on the information they need to get from your company. You probably have used it at least once in your life; An automated voice gives you a command like “if you want to talk to a customer service representative press 1.” Now you know what we are talking about.
How does smart IVR work?
IVR is usually used on inbound calls since customers are calling for a specific purpose. A voice, either automated or recorded, will guide them through a series of commands with a designated number they will have to press so the machine identifies that is where they want to be sent to. Sometimes this software also uses speech recognition and natural language processing, so when customers talk to the IVR, the program processes the information and redirects them accordingly.
The system is programmed like a decision tree, guiding customers through the different option menus available, which means is usually used at the beginning of the call. A decision tree usually contains multiple levels, so each decision the customer takes will send them to another set of possible decisions.
Back in the day, you called a certain number that connected you to an operator, who was in charge of connecting you to the department you wished to contact. This is the automated version of that operator, without the patch cords, of course.
What other uses does IVR have?
Although IVR is usually used as a menu of available services, there are multiple tasks that this software can perform. Nowadays IVR systems are cloud-based, which means they pull information from your cloud to better aid customers and even answer certain queries without the intervention of a live agent.
Some IVRs can give information about account balance using the customer’s ID number or can provide real-time information about the estimated time of arrival of a package using the order tracking number. They can also be programmed to answer FAQs, which avoids occupying live agents in contact centers that handle busy lines.
When they were first created Interactive Voice Response systems only worked like start menus, but today these Softwares are fully customizable, so you can set yours up taking into account the needs of your business.
What do you need to set up an IVR?
IVRs have come a long way in terms of usability. They used to be a pain to program and monitor since you needed to buy specific software to make it work (besides the software you already used to receive calls.) It needed its own servers to function properly, and you needed a specialist to make it work because providers usually used their own programming language. It was neither practical nor cost-effective to have.
Today IVR comes integrated into the contact center system, and it can be easily programmed via fully customizable menus. If you don’t want to do it, the service provider will set up the options for you. No need to buy more software, have more equipment taking space, or hire technicians to keep the system running.
Why is this a must-have tool for your company?
An IVR system in your contact center can bring several benefits in terms of operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
It contributes to more organized call flows, redirecting customers to the correct department and avoiding having agents take all calls and redirect them themselves, which generates insufferable hold times for customers, especially during busy times.
This feature also avoids having agents take calls they are not trained to handle, which leads to frustration of both customer and agent. Programmed with the appropriate workflows, IVR is able to send customers to the IT department if the product is malfunctioning, the billing department if they need to change their payment method, or the customer care department for any other inquiry. The customer won’t have to repeat the issue over and over again, while agents bounce the call from section to section to see who can solve the problem.
Its cloud-based software allows customers to find answers to their questions more efficiently. When set up correctly, they can even solve their issues by using only the IVR. The customer provides certain information for the IVR to give them the appropriate resolution. These databases even allow IVRs to refer to customers by their names using the information from the cloud.
IVRs that allow both dial and speech commands make the customer journey a more accessible one; They can even be programmed to provide information in multiple languages, something that may be essential to provide support to part of your users who are non-native English speakers.
As you can see, IVR is a simple solution to tackle multiple operations in your business in an organized way. It is used mostly as option menus in phone systems, but it can be programmed to provide or request specific information, just like a live agent does but without the inconvenience of the call.
It improves customer satisfaction by giving customers control of their journey, avoiding long waiting times, and providing the assistance they need by dialing a couple of numbers. IVR systems are only one of the automated services we offer at Callzilla in our Nearshore Call Centers. Follow this link to read about other services to boost your customer service operations. Interested in working with us? Send us your info and we’ll get in touch ASAP.