5 Simple Ways to Modernize Your IVR & Improve the Caller Experience

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 The problem is that many of them are outdated, have confusing menu options and require clumsy authentication. 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 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.

3. Personalize the experience

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

4. Provide proactive customer service

Proactive service such as alerts and reminders save customers time and money, which 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 service.
  • Provide self-help – access to a knowledgebase, 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.

The time is now to modernize your IVR

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.

What capabilities does your IVR have that you really like? What do you wish it had?