Interactive Voice Response (IVR). These words do not generally elicit feelings of joy from consumers. Irrelevant, long menus create frustration that cause customers to “zero out” to reach an agent, or even worse, hang up and take their business elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean customers don’t want to help themselves. In fact, the 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index found that 65% of those surveyed feel really good about both the company and themselves when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem related to that company without having to talk with a customer service agent. Thanks to advancements in technology IVR systems can be modernized to become a solid foundation for self-service for voice and beyond.
Modern IVR systems move beyond old-school “press 1” call routing and include proactive outbound IVR, inbound self-service. Additional applications include information retrieval, telephone surveys, order status and emergency notifications. Giving customers options to get answers and resolve problems on their own help increase containment rates and decrease customer care costs.
The following 7 fundamentals are essential elements for providing a modern IVR experience to your customers:
Provide Context Continuity
Context is preserved across channels (e.g. after a dropped call, or from website to IVR, or from IVR to agent) so customers do not have to repeat information.
Predict Caller Intent
The IVR to predicts the intent of the caller based on recent transactions (e.g., orders, tickets opened, reservations, outages in caller’s area) and provide the answer right away before presenting the full menu options.
Adapt to Me
Make the IVR more human-like by adapting to the caller’s experience (novice vs frequent caller), speed/pace of interaction, longevity, or customer loyalty program (e.g. silver, gold, platinum).
Call Them Before They Call You
Ability to call customers proactively with prerecorded notifications and reminders (e.g., appointment confirmations, payment reminders, outage notifications), AND allow them to interact and make changes without requiring an agent to, for example, change an appointment, or make a payment.
Go Digital: Visual IVR
Make the IVR easier to navigate and follow by visualizing the IVR options on a smartphone screen as mobile Web pages, allowing contacts to touch their way through the IVR, enter information or choose options. Visual IVRs are useful for long or deep IVR menus and when the consumer is in noisy environments or meetings.
Go Multi-: Text2IVR
Significantly reduce cost by allowing use cases such as name and address capture or entering alphanumeric codes (e.g. to retrieve order status) by texting the IVR instead of speaking, no longer requiring a live agent. The caller does not disconnect from the IVR and the IVR flow continues based on the input received.
No Time Wasted on Hold: In Queue Self-Service
Consumers are given the option to have the system queue a call back at a later time. Callers are offered mobile self-service options while they are waiting. Often the mobile services can answer the customer's questions, freeing up the call center from the callback, further reducing cost while improving the customer experience.
Learn more about IVR Self Service