With the increased development of technology and applications these days the old ‘Press 1 for sales’ won’t be quite so annoying, in fact, it will provide a better customer experience and an overall benefit to your business.

 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have traditionally been expensive and annoying i.e. menus are too long, too much information, hard to understand etc. These systems have also been quite complex to implement and there are too many companies out there that just don’t get it right.

Simply put, an IVR solution should be just that… A SOLUTION! It should take an instruction from the caller and perform an action based on that instruction. (Commonly, using a database in the background). So, getting the application and scripting right is essential for a smooth customer journey.

The primary benefit of an IVR solution is contact avoidance, whereby you drive customers to ‘self-help’ instead of tying up expensive agent resource. The automation of repetitive calls and simple interactions can allow the call centre agents to handle valuable and complicated queries.

At the same time we need to look at the customer benefits. With a proper IVR solution in place, the customer with the simple query doesn’t need to be sat on the phone waiting for a person to answer as they are held in a queue. We’ve all been there and done that! And most of the time I have hung up, especially if I’ve been waiting for more than 3 minutes! The customer wants the fastest route to get what they need. Where the query is more complex, the IVR interface can direct the customer to the best skilled agents or group of agents.

Benefits to both customer and business is the extension of business hours, giving customers access to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I’d like to talk a little about how this technology has developed so we can try and change the minds of some managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs who don’t understand the value that this simple tool can bring to their business.

Moving on from the old touch pad system approach, speech recognition and speech-enabled IVR have come on leaps and bounds. They now have the capability to replace the traditional menu-driven IVR experience with a natural conversational customer interface. Not only can calls be answered and identified by an intelligent and friendly automated system, but they can directly ask for what they want without wading through multiple levels of IVR hierarchy.

To find out more, and how IPI could assist your contact centre register for one of our October roadshows, Voice of the Customer – Voice of the Contact Centre.

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