Jul 24, 2019

How IVR can Improve Your Call Center/Contact Center Experience


Upgraded IVR: Give Customers a Reason to Call

Customer experience is the new battleground for businesses – this is likely why a recent Forrester study found that 72% of organizations have now made CX improvements their top priority. But as companies set out to make enhancements, most overlook one very important aspect: IVR.

An IVR is an automated system that provides a pre-recorded response to incoming callers based on their input. IVR can minimize the involvement of human agents in the customer service process. Over the last few years, IVR has made quite a few advancements driven by AI. Conversational AI, Voice Recognition, and Natural Language Processing have enabled IVRs to become more human over time.

Hence, an upgraded IVR could be the possible answer to your struggling CSAT. Surprised? You’re not alone. Many companies are under the impression that the proliferation of digital channels has made IVR obsolete, when in fact voice/IVR remains the #1 channel used by customers today (and the market continues to grow 9.9% annually). Tweet this.

To make matters worse, a survey by Radial found the 83% of customers stated they would avoid a company after a poor experience with an IVR. If your current voice system has been around since the era of rotary phones, it’s time to put it out to pasture and upgrade to a conversational IVR system that provides customers the experiences they expect.

How Outdated IVR Is Increasing Your Contact Center Costs

It’s no secret that today’s customers have big expectations and little tolerance for companies who can’t deliver.

  • 76% of consumers view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them
  • 73% want the ability to solve product/service issues on their own
  • 59% will not return after a bad experience

In our digital age, customers want quick answers to their problems – if your outdated IVR forces them to endure long wait times, uses archaic touchtone technology, or transfers them from department to department, requiring them to restart their journey each time they talk to a new agent, you’re in trouble.

Outbound IVR engages customers through multi-channels like automated voice calls, SMS, and emails, allowing the organization to attend to multiple end-users without investing in a commensurate increase of human agents, thus substantially bringing down the cost.

Upgrading to a conversational IVR won’t just improve customer experiences by allowing consumers to converse naturally, it will open up a range of omnichannel opportunities you might not have considered. With proper integration, you can get a full picture of your customer’s journey, so when they call, instead of greeting them with a standard, “Thank you for calling, how can we help you?” you can ask “Are you calling about your upcoming hotel reservation?” and help them get answers much faster.

Still not convinced? Below we’ll review some common misconceptions that often cause companies to stall their IVR upgrade and outline why you shouldn’t delay any longer.

Contact Center IVR: Fact from Fiction

IVR has often received mixed reactions from its users, which has led to certain misconceptions. Let's separate what is fact from what is fiction:

FICTION: IVR is unnecessary in a digital world.
FACT: While digital channels are definitely exploding in usage, customers are still calling (voice remains 4x more popular than chatbots) and IVR will never go away (at least not anytime soon). When self-service channels fail, customers won’t hesitate to pick up the phone to get the answers or information they seek. Does your IVR do the job quickly and easily, or is it further aggravating an already frustrated customer?

FICTION: Outdated contact center IVR systems can get the job done.
FACT: Outdated systems do nothing but annoy customers and damage your brand’s reputation. Modern IVR systems provide seamless experiences in line with today’s expectations – upgrading doesn’t just make it easier for customers to get things done (which contains costs), it fosters loyalty and sets your brand apart for all the right reasons.

FICTION: Modern IVR systems are too expensive to implement and maintain.
FACT: Of course upgrades cost money, but they’ll save you money in the long run, and expenses can be managed with on-demand cloud solutions, AI-driven automation, and other developer tools. Modernized IVR enables simple self-service calls, proactive responses, shorter sessions, and hand-offs to pre-informed human agents when necessary, cutting contact center costs and improving CSAT.

FICTION: Customers prefer not to use IVRs
FACT: Might we remind you of this little stat we mentioned above – voice/IVR is still the most used customer service channel, and it continues to grow year after year. Certain customer segments will always prefer speaking with a human and certain problems will always require a human touch to be resolved effectively – this will never change.

FICTION: IVR/voice is a standalone channel that doesn’t fit into the bigger picture.
FACT: IVR is an important slice of your customer experience pie. A modern solution offers omnichannel support that can be easily integrated with other channels to offer customers a continuous experience (e.g. IVR to chat, web, etc.). This is what today’s customers expect.

Watch this 3-minute video to learn more about how a modern IVR system enables a holistic customer experience.

IVR Video Thumb

These are just a few benefits a modern IVR system can offer your business. If you’re ready to have better conversations with your customers, contact us today to get started.

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