Stop Ignoring Your IVR

To put it simply, you can’t ignore your IVR anymore.  But of course, it’s never that simple.

So, what’s changed?  Why do you have to pay more attention to your IVR now?  Well, customer experiences don’t start when your agent picks up the call – they start when your customer dials the phone.  And today’s customers don’t tolerate IVR systems that waste their time.

Plus, the new generation of Millennials feels like it’s their duty to warn others by sharing their bad experiences in social media.  And 83 percent of adults aged 18-29 use social networking as of December 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.

And while social channels broadcast customer frustrations, corporations are getting more serious about customer satisfaction, willingness-to-recommend and customer effort scores.  Companies expect the contact center to drive improvements in these new KPIs.  And studies have shown that agents aren’t the only contributor.  Bad IVR experiences drag your scores down too.

In fact, your IVR can be delivering a terrible experience and you may not be aware of it.  That’s because IVR reporting tells you only whether it’s performing as designed – not whether it’s working for your customers.

To assess your IVR from your customer’s perspective, you have to evaluate it in the context of the entire call.  But IVR reporting stops when the call goes into a queue.  So, it can’t tell you whether the IVR routed the call correctly, missed an opportunity for self-service, or wasted your customer’s time collecting information they had to repeat again for your agent.

You also need an efficient way to observe actual interactions inside your IVR.  There’s a reason your QA teams listens to calls – because CRM reports don’t tell you enough to evaluate an agent’s performance.  IVR reports are exactly the same – they just don’t tell you enough about the customer’s experience.

So, IVR optimization is critical to achieve customer satisfaction goals.  But you’ve got 2 blind spots – what happens after the IVR, and actual experiences inside the IVR.  Fortunately, new cloud analytics solutions remove these blind spots without forcing you to integrate any new technology.  It even works with hosted IVRs!

Joe Alwan Joe Alwan, Vice President and General Manager, AVOKE Analytics

Joe Alwan is ICMI's featured Speaker of the Week. Joe is Vice President and General Manager for AVOKE. With more than 25 years of experience, Joe’s vision for the transformative power of cloud analytics and customer experience has driven the growth of the AVOKE Analytics business, including building a customer base of Fortune 100 companies. Throughout his career, Joe has been instrumental in turning innovative new technologies into actionable business solutions. You can meet Joe at ACCE where he will be speaking at two sessions.

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Rob Jackson — 12:07PM on Apr 25, 2013

Excellent article but I would go a step further. You don't know what the customer experience was in the IVR until you talk to the customer! Why did they opt to immediately go to an agent? Why did they opt out early? Did the IVR have the options they were looking for? Did the IVR route them properly? And, the list goes on. As good as your software is at tracking the end to end call, it can't answer these questions.

Joe Alwan — 8:22AM on Apr 26, 2013

Actually, there is a way to understand the customer's experience and answer Rob's questions without talking to the customer. And that is to listen to the customer! AVOKE is both a recording system and an analytics system. Our analytics help you quickly find the calls you care about. And then you can drill down to end-to-end AVOKE recordings. By listening to the customer's reactions to your prompts, what they say between prompts and while in queue, and their conversation with the agent, you'll discover what they were thinking while they were in your IVR - and the reasons for their behavior.

Rob Jackson — 10:08AM on Apr 26, 2013

No doubt the recording of the customer call can sometimes be helpful. I guess the question is, does the recording always tell you what was going on in the mind of the customer? Wouldn't a 360 view of the customer be more valuable? Target customer interviews for customers that demonstrate abnormal behavior in the IVR. Match the original call recording with a recording of the customer post call interview. Now you really have deep insight for design changes and training!

Joe Alwan — 12:37PM on Apr 28, 2013

Hey Rob - No doubt recordings, analytics, and surveys are all really valuable! Each has strengths and weaknesses - each is best for answering certain types of questions. Using combinations like you describe can also be very powerful. This blog just scratches the surface of what we do. We actually offer all three so that we can meet our customer's diverse needs. Would love to talk with you sometime about how we might work together.