For some reason, outbound interactive voice messaging gets less love as an omnichannel asset than it deserves. Whilst VoiceSage is a big proponent of other proactive customer engagement technologies, such as SMS and chatbots, as a means of reducing inbound contact volumes and redirecting resources to higher value activities – we never ignore the vital role of great technology such as IVM (Interactive Voice Messaging).
Similar to Interactive Voice Response (IVR), but with outbound initiation, IVM is the perfect solution for proactive customer contact, avoiding inbound calls, and connecting ‘ready to talk’ customers to the right agents.
Simply, proactive, one-way voice messages are perfect for important customer alerts, e.g. order status, or power outage updates and are a tried and trusted way to reduce the flow of inbound calls, decrease costs, and reassure customers with the power of a voice engagement.
To take just one example, Home Retail Group was able to achieve contact with 100% of its customers when snow interrupted its busy home delivery schedule, using a powerful combination of IVM and SMS.
Interactive Voice Messages takes Voice communications up a level. That’s because they include levels of interaction with customer keypad input responses (initiated by an outbound call) that guide customers to take actions, such as an invitation to self-serve, or they present dynamic options based on the customer’s choices.
That allows you, the brand, to automate deliveries and appointments, or run surveys that capture real-time feedback. Add transfers to internal or third-party systems, i.e. autopay, or transfer calls back into your call centre with effective agent routing, as well as offering an immediate connection to a live agent, or prompt an automated call-back to discuss issue resolution. All serve to make IVM a powerful option.
But what we believe – and what our customers find – is that a blended approach is what works best. The ability to deploy the medium that this customer wants, now, is the most effective approach. At a recent Executive Club event VoiceSage ran with the UK Contact Centre Forum, for example, the senior contact centre managers in attendance discussed the fact that voice appeals to certain consumers and manages certain tasks well. “Yes, we have a lot of ‘phone phobic’ consumers who get irritated if they get put through to a human – they see it as a time-waste,” offered a healthcare organisation General Manager. “But we also have people who hate virtual systems and only ever want to talk to a person.”
Outbound Interactive Voice Messaging , with its automated agent transfers can keep these two opposing camps happy. It can also work in tandem with the millennial-friendly medium of SMS. Pragmatism therefore powers the need to make IVM a big part of the outreach and customer service mix.
Voice doesn’t have to be delivered by a human contact centre agent, of course. Plus you can record a voice that resonates best with your brand. This means that your campaigns and outreach can be more flexible, nuanced and richer than your competition. For outreach, modern Voice systems are also fantastically sensitive at detecting the start of a voicemail message, which means it will immediately cut out, keeping you fully compliant (and not annoying your customers!).
So don’t underestimate the power of Voice – and don’t forget to make it an active ingredient of your dynamic outreach mix.
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