Published: August 29, 2013 | Comments
For many businesses, the IVR is one of the primary initial customer contact points when there is a need for service. It’s usually implemented as a way to cut costs, as it allows customers to perform specific tasks themselves, and avoids the involvement of live agents who are expensive by comparison. There is a perception that you need to forgo a level of service quality to reap the benefits of the cost reduction that an IVR can provide.
However, if the IVR is designed poorly and doesn’t resolve the customer’s issue efficiently, it will have a negative effect on the company’s brand, which is a costly mistake. A well-designed and executed IVR application, however, can help create an exceptional customer experience and retain your customers.
At Ubiquity, we see the IVR as an opportunity to build a great customer experience while achieving significant cost savings. This means our customers get the benefit of both. So how do we do this?
Customers are increasingly time sensitive. In certain circumstances, the IVR is an effective way to rapidly answers a question or resolve an issue. It also allows a company to provide extended service hours, reduce queue times, and offer the privacy that speaking to a live agent may not provide.
As an example, we’ve recently engineered an IVR solution that proactively attempts to determine why a customer is calling and presents them with a service module designed to address the customer’s concern prior to giving a menu. In cases where this is possible, we’ve found that surveyed customers are highly satisfied with the service received. At the same time, we’ve reduced costs and eliminated the need to involve a live agent. So how do you design your IVR to help turn consumers into loyal brand advocates?
1. Design it from the customer’s viewpoint.
Satisfaction comes when customers can accomplish what they need more quickly and with less effort. In other words, an IVR should be quick, provide the right information or direct the customer to a live agent that can help them. The experience should be so intuitive that it feels like a natural interaction.
2. Know what functions can be automated
Knowing which functions to try to automate is critical for success. While it is possible to automate almost anything, many processes are unnatural when implemented in an IVR. In these cases, it is better to simply route the caller to an agent as effortlessly as possible.
3. Take advantage of advanced IVR technologies & applications
Speech recognition and text to speech can help to automate many things that are difficult using dial tones alone. However, implementing speech recognition just for the sake of having it is not a winning solution. Speech driven applications should be designed to fully take advantage of the technology. A classic example is having a customer listen to a menu and say the number of a menu option. This does not typically enhance the experience. It is far better to allow the customer to say why they are calling and then analyze their statement to determine the appropriate course of action.
4. Survey IVR user satisfaction and focus on continuous improvement
Contact centers often survey for satisfaction with the agent experience, but forget to do the same for the IVR experience. We believe this misses a key opportunity to measure and manage the customer experience for a large number of customers. Application design based on the analytics of reasons for customer dissatisfaction is an excellent way to improve the customer experience