Contact Centre

Six essential IVR tips for your call centre

The benefits of an effective IVR

While your agents are using their expertise to handle calls, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system gives your call centre another opportunity to provide outstanding customer service.

Whether you’re routing inbound calls to the most appropriate agent or even supplementing your outbound campaigns with IVR as an alternative to dropped calls, the possibilities are numerous.

To get you started, here are six useful tips on using IVR systems effectively to maximise customer satisfaction and your call centre performance.

1. Design from perspective of your customers

The most important function of any IVR system is to give your customers a better experience. It should be clear, that any IVR system should be designed from their perspective.

By gathering information from dialler reports, your agents, and your customers, you can build your understanding of what your customers need the system to do to make their lives easier. These options should be the first ones they'll hear on your IVR system.

2. Touch tone or voice response?

Your specific IVR system could use touch tone (where customers hit telephone keys to choose an option or enter information) or voice response (where customers simply speak and your technology understands what they say). Choosing between these two options is largely a matter of what you think your customers will prefer.

For ease of use, voice response is fast, intuitive, and accessible to everyone. However, while voice recognition technology has made huge strides in recent years, many people have more confidence in touch tone to record details accurately. Touch tone is also a good option if your customers will be entering personal or confidential information.

3. Be proactive beyond your IVR system

An IVR system can play a major role in guiding customers to the right agents or placing callers in relevant queues before an agent is available. Just think of your IVR system as one part of your wider strategy on customer service.

For example, while orders are being processed, you could send an automated SMS message to give status updates to your customers. This removes the need for an inbound call, making life easier for your agents and improving customer satisfaction.

4. Use IVR callbacks to reduce queue times

As well as routing calls, IVR systems can be used to reduce queue lengths in your contact centre. Rather than a simple automated message that tells a customer they're in an indefinite queue, your system could give them the option to receive a callback when an agent is free.

With the simple push of a button, customers can stop waiting in a queue, while a ‘queue callback’ is dropped into your outbound queue. It’s a powerful way to reduce the frustration of waiting for an agent while improving your abandoned call rates.

5. Manage dropped calls with your IVR system

One Hostcomm customer, Orbit, uses an IVR system to manage its dropped calls as part of large-scale outbound dialling. When a call is dropped, customers are played a short message that identifies who was calling. 

Customers can then add themselves to an inbound queue in order to speak to an agent as soon as they become available. This use of IVR has allowed the Orbit to increase customer satisfaction, manage dropped call rates, and achieve a greater response rate from the customers they're trying to reach.

6. Take payments using a compliant IVR 

Increasingly, call centres are looking for PCI compliant ways to accept payments from customers. Using our PCI Payment IVR service allows customers to make payments securely on a call. Agents don't need to handle payment information.  This facility improves customer service, reduces agent errors and provides higher levels of security.

7. Always test your IVR options for yourself

It’s crucial that you test your IVR options for yourself. Even if you design your IVR system around your customers, it can be hard to predict what real user experience will be like.

The most effective way to test your system is to simply use it for yourself. Imagine a series of common actions that customers phone in for, then see how conveniently these can be achieved.

Have your options been configured correctly? Do they make sense? The right service provider will always be able to help you tweak and optimise your IVR, ensuring that it really delivers on your goals of making life easier and more convenient for your customers.

See how a Hostcomm IVR system can help you increase customer satisfaction. Talk to one of our cloud contact centre service specialists today.

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