5 Simple Ways to Modernize Your Interactive Voice Response

In this age of digital transformation which has seen a proliferation of self-service options, many people prefer to get answers to their questions without ever speaking directly to a contact center agent. But when the channels of their choice fail, and they must call the contact center for resolution, they expect a positive customer experience.

When a customer does call, they will likely reach an interactive voice response system (IVR). The problem is that many of them are outdated. Companies may have installed a system many years ago that is mired in IVR history, and have not updated it since, or they just keep adding more and more information without reviewing the overall structure against the needs of today’s customers. The often results in confusing menu options, old information, and clumsy authentication requirements. Instead of providing a positive, effortless experience, customers can become even further frustrated and dissatisfied.

Here are five simple things you can do to improve Interactive Voice Response (IVR):.
1. Qualify callers

Easy to use IVR systems let you quickly set up menu trees to qualify the caller’s needs and ensure they receive the most rapid response by either providing instant access to automated information or intelligent routing to the best available agent.

2. Deliver automated account information

Some callers just want to verify account balances or pay a bill but don’t really need to speak directly to an agent. The right automated IVR system will collect the necessary information from the caller in order to be able to address their request without human intervention. If a request cannot be resolved, the information collected on the caller allows the system to route the call to the most appropriate group or agent. IVR recording and analysis can be used to review calls to see where improvements can be made that will make the caller’s experience even easier.

3. Personalize the experience

By drawing from readily available information such as the customer phone number, interaction history, transactions and more, modern IVR offers a personalized experience for every caller. They can greet the caller by name, offer callbacks and channel switching, anticipate the reason for the call and remember customer preferences.

4. Provide proactive customer service

Proactive IVR self service, such as alerts and reminders save customers time and money, can boost satisfaction and loyalty. There are many ways to provide proactive service. Here are just a few:

  • Reach out after the sale to find out if the customer needs anything else.
  • Offer live chat customer support.
  • Inform customers about delays and unscheduled issues before they arise. For example, make them aware if there is a shipping delay, technical issue or software update.
  • Ask for feedback on both products and services.
  • Provide self-help – access to a knowledge base, FAQs, and tutorials.
5. Create a consistent experience across channels

In today’s digital world, customers often use multiple contact channels. In fact, according to Frost & Sullivan, customers interact with companies on an average of nine different channels. Creating a consistent experience can be difficult, as channels are often managed by different departments and the various programs are siloed. New IVR technologies can provide easier interactions and IVR recording can be used to analyze sessions across all channels to manage quality.

The time is now to modernize your IVR solution

According to recent stats on the customer experience, 66% of consumers that switch brands do so because of poor customer service. Based on this and many other statistics on the high costs of poor service, the need to ensure a great experience for customers during every interaction has reached a critical state. And, since chances are that a customer’s initial interaction when they call into your contact center will be with your IVR, the time is now to improve and modernize it to be more intuitive and efficient. As you move forward, it’s important to continue to review your IVR activities, using tools such as IVR recording and reporting to look at how customers are using the system and identify areas for improvement.

Advantages of a Cloud IVR

Today’s innovative organizations are building IVR systems with flexible, cloud-based APIs. Beyond better customer experiences, a cloud-based IVR can have a positive effect on many measurable KPIs. “Cloud IVR” refers to making IVR available through the use of cloud-based technologies – or as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) as a Service (IVRaaS). Cloud IVR is typically priced as a usage-based model, with 24×7 accessibility and modern IVR functionality. A hosted IVR eliminates the high-overhead costs of expensive hardware and system administration, and has the flexibility to easily ramp up and down volume for seasonal fluctuations.

What capabilities does your Interactive Voice Response have that you really like? What do you wish it had to improve customer experiences?