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Why Bankers Still Value Interactive Voice Response in 2019

With the emergence of the internet and all it can offer businesses, it was believed that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems would quickly become a thing of the past. While some IVR systems have been known to frustrate customers, 70 per cent of calls to or from banks are still fulfilled using an IVR system. For banks, IVR is an indispensable tool that still manages to transform the way customer support is handled.

Having an operator calling and answering calls to thousands of customers a day is difficult, time-consuming and costly for banks. It also tends to frustrate clients who have to wait for their operator to find the right response. With an IVR system, all of these factors are eliminated, proving beneficial to both banks and their customers. While the IVR will direct more complex calls to an operator, it will be able to handle many customer queries at once.  This allows priority calls to get the attention they require from customer service agents. We take a look at why, even in 2019, Interactive Voice Response systems are still valued by bankers.


Why is IVR Valuable for the Customer?

woman on the phone to a bank


Interactive Voice Response can be used to inform customers about information regarding their banking. The types of notifications that will come from banks are likely to be important, and customers will want to hear about them as soon as possible. For example, if a customer goes into their overdraft, or if fraud is detected on their account, then it is essential to notify them promptly so the issue can be resolved. However, it is impractical to use customer service agents to call up every single customer who will need to be informed of a change in their account. An IVR system, on the other hand, can achieve this quickly and efficiently, getting in touch with customers immediately when required. Customers are likely to appreciate such notifications, as it will allow them to stop any charges that may incur from being overdrawn, for example. 

IVR is the best choice for such a notification, as many customers may be untrusting of an email or text from a bank in an age of hackers. By calling using an IVR system, you can also give your customers the option to be put through to a live agent if the situation requires further action or clarification.


Checking Balance or Status

IVR systems can be a useful tool for customers to check basic information about their accounts or loans quickly. An IVR system can quickly find out the right information about the status of a loan, how much is owed, or how much balance a customer has, and use text-to-speech to relay the information. This can be useful for those who struggle to use computers or require an auditory response. If your IVR uses Natural Language, then it should be very easy for your customers to use, as they will not need to use a specific keyword. Instead, the IVR will understand their request of ‘how much do I owe?’ rather than the customer having to repeat phrases such as ‘Loan Status’ to get the right results.



With a sophisticated Natural Language IVR in place, customers will be able to contact banks and resolve any issues they may have, even when the bank is closed. For many people, it would be most convenient to resolve any banking issues in the evening or night after work, on weekends or bank holidays. However, these can be when banks are closed, or support lines may be very busy. With banking issues typically being time-sensitive, the convenience of being able to quickly deal with the problem at a time that is best for the customer is a great benefit.


Why is IVR Valuable For the Bank?

piggy bank filled with coins

Gaining Feedback

For banks, feedback provides insights that can improve the customer experience across all aspects of the business. Following a call, an IVR system can automate a survey to discover what went well or what could be improved during their interaction. Customers can also be called separately by an IVR system to collect their thoughts on the services provided by the bank to help make improvements.


Reduced Costs

With an IVR system in place to deal with things such as customer enquiries, complaints and account information, overhead costs can quickly be cut for banks. Customer complaints and complex cases can also, therefore, be dealt with in a timely and effective manner. Less strain on the contact centre staff from FAQ-type questions can allow for the best staff to be better trained in handling such cases.



Banks will want to be able to deal with as many customer queries as possible in a day. Being able to respond to every customer in a timely manner is essential for maintaining good customer service levels. As banks will typically need to answer every call with the same information and options of where the call can be directed, having a person reel out this information every time would be inefficient. An IVR system saves the bank’s human customer support agents time by performing this task.


If you are using a Natural Language IVR, then further time can be saved due to its ability to route calls more accurately. A Natural Language IVR should be able to direct customers to the right department based on the information given. This will cut down on the amount of agent-to-agent transfers experienced. When a customer is put through to an agent that cannot help them, they will typically have explained their case and then be told that they will be transferred to someone else. This can be frustrating for the customer, who will have to explain the reason for their call multiple times. However, this also causes a lot of wasted time for agents. Ensuring each call is directed correctly with a Natural Language IVR is bound to save both your agents and customers a considerable amount of time.


Traditional IVR vs Natural Language IVR

More value can be gained from your IVR system if you opt for a natural language IVR over a traditional system. Much of the frustration that is associated with IVR calling comes from traditional systems, which tend to limit customers to a set of options and prevent them from backtracking if an error occurs. With Natural Language IVR, this can be avoided, as it can allow for customers to answer open-ended questions instead. For example, 90 per cent of callers say that they would be willing to engage with an IVR system asking them a question such as ‘how can I help?’. However, only 70 per cent of callers would engage with a directed dialogue menu IVR, with the remaining 30 per cent choosing to press an option that will take them directly to an agent. With more people willing to use an IVR system that uses Natural Language, it is clear that this is the better choice for banks.

Hostcomm’s Natural Language IVR system allows for more complex and sophisticated conversations to occur. Customers can interrupt, clarify and correct the conversation, which enables the caller to control call flow and establish a better customer experience. If you would like to gain a better connection with your customers through your Interactive Voice Response system, then you can find out more by exploring the solutions we offer, or by getting in touch with our expert team. 

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