IVR Payment System Benefits and Key Technology to Maximise Customer Satisfaction For Your Contact Centre

The benefits of IVR payment systems for your contact centre’s operational efficiency are numerous; however, they do bring several limitations that can impact customer service, prove to be costly, and give additional burdens around PCI-DSS compliance. Read on to discover those benefits and then how to evaluate technology providers so that you can maximise your contact centre’s efficiencies - and still provide the right levels of customer service and security.

Benefits of IVR Payment Systems

Payment IVRs allow your business, or contact centre, to add automation to the process of taking payments from your customers with the following benefits:

Customer satisfaction

Your customers live busy lives and may look to pay bills or make purchases after office hours. With a payment IVR, your customers can make payments 24/7 at a time convenient to them. At the same time, as they don’t have to sit in a queue to speak to an agent to make their payment, they can finish the payment process much faster.

Operational efficiency

Having to take payments over the phone is a time-consuming process for your agents. It can often result in your business needing to employ more agents and/or them not being able to spend as much time as possible dealing with sales opportunities or having conversations with your customers. Research from ContactBabel revealed that the average cost of a telephony IVR self-service session is 65p, compared to the cost of a live service telephone call where the mean average was £3.55.

Payment IVRs can be particularly useful for businesses that have variable peaks in call traffic that cause difficulties with managing work rotas and ensuring optimal staff time usage.

Quicker payments

Individuals often look for an excuse to avoid making payments, but a payment IVR makes it possible for customers to pay at a time convenient for them, increasing the likelihood that they pay on time.

Happier staff

Payments are usually something your customer just wants to get done. They are a dull and repetitive process for your staff but can also be a stressful one as making payments and giving credit card numbers over the phone, is not something customers usually like to do and can easily lead to numbers getting entered wrongly. A payment IVR takes that burden away from your staff, allowing them to focus on higher-value conversations that provide them with greater satisfaction.


Anyone taking credit card payments has to be PCI-DSS compliant with a payment IVR being much more secure than the traditional method of your agent having to input the numbers; a process in which there is no way they can avoid being exposed to the numbers, leaving the potential for fraudulent behaviour. If a payment IVR is done right, it can also descope your contact centre from some, or all, aspects of PCI-DSS compliance, reducing costs and time.

Considerations When Choosing a Technology Solution

While the benefits of a payment IVR solution are clear, there are some challenges that need to be resolved:

IVR Interactivity Limitations

The tree structure and the limited, unnatural way that consumers need to use to interact with an IVR, including the need to simply follow the instructions in order, and the difficulty of going back through the menu when the wrong button is pressed, meaning that IVRs are an incredible source of frustration with high dropout rate no matter the purpose of the IVR system. In the case of making payments, where a credit card has to be input from your phone keyboard the opportunities for error - and then not completing the process are even greater.

Agent Assisted Hybrid Solution

An agent-assisted hybrid solution can resolve this. With this solution, an agent initially handles the call but then passes it into a payment IVR when the customer is ready to pay. They are additionally able to monitor the progress of a call and intervene to help finish the payment if the agent feels it is necessary.

However, adding an agent to the process brings complexity to PCI-DSS compliance. In the case of a payment IVR, because your agents are not exposed to your customers’ credit card numbers, there is the potential to descope your contact centre. With an agent-assisted solution, if your agents must monitor the progress of a call, they are potentially exposed to the DTMF tones as your customer inputs their number, resulting in your contact centre being brought into scope. Your contact centre then has to go through the cost of making sure it is compliant. It is therefore essential that any agent-assisted solution can mask DTMF tones and keep your contact centre descoped.


You need to talk to the provider to understand the way in which the DTMF masking is achieved - does the solution provider require you to buy hardware? If so, this will likely be a significant upfront cost? Does the solution provider require the calls to be routed through a standalone telephony system? If so, this will mean significant new costs for telephony services as well as integration and time delays with implementation.

In addition, how is the vendor charged for a successfully processed transaction? You need to be aware of this to discover hidden costs.

Cloud Versus On-premises

We all know that a hybrid working model has emerged post lockdown, therefore, it is key that if you plan to have agents working from home, the solution provider is cloud-based without the need for hardware to be installed at your offices.


Your business is striving to unify the numerous sources of data flowing into your business to create a single view of your customer and greater insight. It is important therefore that any solution provider has the expertise to create that integration quickly.

Additional Functionality

Choose an IVR payment solution that can authenticate callers prior to taking payments via

a unique number like an invoice or a customer reference. Then, shortlist those that integrate easily with in-house telephony, accounting, and CRM systems.


Being able to have an agent-assisted solution has its benefits in terms of higher closure rates for IVR payments but brings many additional challenges – not least in that, an agent-assisted solution makes it necessary to hire extra agents to work outside of normal office hours. The ideal solution marries voice support with 24/7 self-service, and a voicebot can help achieve this goal.

A voicebot, or virtual agent, allows your customer to have natural language conversations 24/7. In comparison to the voice functionality of a payment IVR, a voicebot allows your customer to ask questions in a conversational manner, enabling them to use natural speech and, if they get something wrong or are unsure, go back and ask again. This means your customer is more likely to stay in the process and complete their payment.

In addition, as a voicebot isn’t a real person, it means it is possible to descope your contact centre, reduce your costs and enhance customer service. It can work in tandem with live agents to reduce the necessity for live agents to a minimum.

How Hostcomm Can Deliver Value?

Hostcomm offers a unique solution that combines a payment IVR with contact centre software in a PCI-DSS compliant environment. By integrating the two together we can deliver a PCI-DSS compliant, sophisticated agent-assisted payment solution without the need for costly DTMF tone suppression. Costs are also kept down as there is no need to route through a standalone payment IVR provider.

Hostcomm’s solution allows your agents to monitor the progress of a payment, intervene to help finish it, and then, post-payment, chat again with your customer to reassure them.

In addition, Hostcomm has a powerful voicebot solution with Google Cloud natural language and speech capabilities combined with Hostcomm Voice Gateway enabling exceptional performance for inbound and outbound telephony as well as website calls.

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