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The Tech Advantage: How Your IVR Can Enhance the Customer Experience

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Your voice response systems can provide solutions that improve the experience for both your customers and contact centre teams.

One of the most common complaints about dealing with contact centres is the wait time that customers have to endure during times of high call volume. This issue can be addressed by adding more agents to your staff or trying to reduce call handle time, but these solutions may only go so far. 

According to a 2013 Executive Report on Customer Service, 79.7 percent of respondents said that the contact centre is an essential part of the customer service experience. With this in mind, centres that can’t reduce their handle times further and don’t have the budget or infrastructure to hire more staff need to generate new customer service solutions. The use of integrated voice response (IVR) systems can be an effective tool for bettering the customer experience.

Implementing IVR in Your Contact Centre

While the personal touch of a human agent can’t be replaced, many customers are comfortable working with automated processes. Our everyday lives are becoming increasingly automated as technology develops, and the average consumers are evolving right along with it. Along with this, you can customize the recorded responses of your IVR system and personalize it to fit the needs of your contact centre.

Integration of agents with your new IVR is an important part of integrating the IVR as a whole. With a recorded system handling your customer’s issues, your agents will need to be familiar with how the computer responds to the issues presented to it. Training your agents on handling the IVR system will be necessary to assure the quality of your customer’s experience.

Customers won’t want to repeat problem solving steps with live agents that they’ve already tried with the IVR, and the use of computerized systems will almost certainly create new IT issues that may need new infrastructure to resolve.

Optimize Your System

Once you’ve implemented your IVR system, the next step is to tailor it to the needs of your centre. This involves customizing the dialogue of the IVR as well as setting the responses to choices that function efficiently within your current infrastructure.

Here are a few ways to ensure that your IVR is customized to your exact needs:

  • Know your demographics — who will be using the system and how you can tailor your responses to their age-specific needs.
  • Update your IVR — analyze past calls and customer feedback to keep your IVR updated.
  • Keep your terminology consistent with the phrasing used by your centre and your live agents to prevent customer confusion.
  • If you’re interested in keeping your customers within your IVR to prevent call overflow, refrain from specifically mentioning options to transfer calls to live agents.
  • Multilingual compatibility — use numeric input to prevent misunderstanding accents or mispronunciation.

Consider the Whole Customer Experience

While the benefits of an IVR system include decreasing handle call overflow, reducing average handle time and lowering the burden on your agents, these shouldn’t be the primary reasons for implementing the system. The most important part IVR implementation is to increase your customer’s overall experience when dealing with your centre.

To best facilitate this, it’s important to keep in mind your customer’s journey throughout their entire time dealing with your centre. This is where data tracking metrics can come in handy, as CRM software integrated with your IVR system can be used to track:

  • How many times previous customers have called
  • What methods they prefer to use to contact the centre or problem solve
  • What their problems were
  • Their overall experience dealing with your agents

This information allows you to examine where your centre’s weakest points are and the best ways to improve. It may also grant you with the valuable knowledge of your customer’s preferred methods of problem resolution and provide insight on how to best serve them in the future. By keeping comprehensive views of your customer’s experience in mind as you adapt and update your IVR system, you can work towards an ideal customer service experience.

Technology in the Call Centre

Implementing an IVR system in your contact centre can yield many benefits to both your customer service initiatives and to your own facility.

Gathering information and applying it to each individual customer situation is an essential part of providing good customer service, and can be optimized with the use of IVR technology. When new strategies are implemented with the customer’s overall experience in mind, call centres can improve the quality of their service across the board.

Interested in more ways that IVR systems and technology can improve your service? Check out our free white paper.

Download the FREE Whitepaper: 10 Proven Strategies to Decrease the Costs of Your Customer Care Without Sacrificing Service Levels