When you think of automated phone systems, it may immediately bring to mind a robotic, monotone voice stating, “Press one for customer service.” The days of frustration with early automation are long gone, as are the aggravations of saying “Call Steve,” only to have your phone say “Calling Pete.” Communications technology has advanced in some exciting ways that make interactive voice response (IVR) a valuable tool for companies and a convenience for customers. IVR benefits cut both directions, making service more efficient for businesses and helping customers resolve issues quickly.
First, a definition of IVR: IVR is a menu response system that allows for the identification of the caller, as well as segmentation and routing of calls to the right department or agent. It is an effective way to simplify service while reducing costs.
IVR benefits will vary between organizations and how they apply the available features, but there are some advantages to implementing the system that tends to be more universal across different platforms and providers:
Cost reduction: One of the reasons that companies first consider IVR is the expectation of reduced costs associated with customer service staffing. There are several ways in which IVR is an economically advantageous choice:
- Companies are able to rely on the system to handle rote and routine calls, freeing up their agents for more complex customer service issues.
- A cloud provider for IVR handles all of the maintenance, upgrades, and troubleshooting for the system, allowing IT teams to focus on other projects.
- Instead of one-time capital investment in a technology solution, cloud IVR is billed in a monthly subscription-based model. It can also be treated as an operating expense.
Professional image: For smaller companies, IVR benefits include the masking of the size of your business. Even if the calls are all routed to one or two people, the system gives the callers a much bigger impression of your company. It’s also valuable for situations in which your entire team needs to attend a meeting or when you are missing a receptionist for the day. Your callers won’t know the difference.
Data analytics: One of the key benefits of IVR is the tracking of the questions, issues, and requests for information that the system logs. It can measure call resolution time, how many transfers were necessary, and whether the customer had to call back to resolve their issue. Data analytics provide insight into how customers interact with your company and whether adequate systems are in place to ensure they have a satisfying relationship with your company.
Customer convenience: Consumers are more comfortable than ever working with an automated system that gives them direct access to information and resources. Increasingly, customers prefer not to interact with an agent if they are able to resolve the issue through an IVR solution. Examples of conveniences that IVR offers customers include:
- The ability to pay invoices
- Refill a prescription
- Receive information about an item on backorder
Customers are also able to connect with your company, no matter what time of day or if it’s the weekend. And when they’re calling to make a payment, that means your company gets paid faster.
When using IVR, customers reach the right agent more quickly and are able to resolve an issue within a single call. When a company utilizes visual IVR, the experience becomes even more convenient for the customer. They are able to navigate service options using a touchscreen on a mobile device for a user-friendly experience.
IVR benefits also include the ability to identify the caller from their phone number. They can then be prioritized according to the value of the customer, and the system can access important information about their previous interactions with the company. For instance, if the customer received delivery of an appliance the day before, the system can more quickly route the call to remedy a problem.
Enhanced security: When it’s time for a customer to pay a bill or resolve another issue involving personal information, IVR is more secure than other options. An IVR solution encrypts the data received before it is entered into a system for processing, and a live agent never receives any personal information from the customer.
Handling high call volume with ease: IVR benefits also include the ability to immediately accommodate periods of high call volume. Cloud IVR is exceptionally scalable, with the capability to handle “bursting” when call volume unexpectedly jumps beyond the normal level. With IVR, customers will never know that you’re experiencing a rush on calls.
The introduction of IVR benefits to your customer service strategy not only delivers these specific advantages, but it also introduces new opportunities for innovation. From agents freed from routine calls to IT departments no longer managing an in-house phone system, your company can experience new ideas for how to better serve your customers.
For more information about what specific IVR benefits you can expect to see in your business environment, contact us at TelcoAlert. We can help you identify the right solution to introduce advanced technology without compromising your budget.