Doing business in the 21st century feels like an arms race, with every business competing to provide faster, better, and more comprehensive service to its demanding customers.
For customers, the “Amazon effect” is a welcomed phenomenon, allowing them to get products and services as quickly as the same day. For businesses, this breakneck pace can be crippling unless they can rise to the challenge and provide exemplary service.
Today, we’re going to look at how IVR systems enable businesses to adapt to customer experience challenges and the role these systems play in transforming the customer experience.
IVR stands for an interactive voice response, and it’s a communication system that helps get the ball rolling when a customer requires service. IVR systems have been around for decades. Simple IVR systems offer prompts for customers to respond by using to using their phone’s keypad, and from there, the customer is routed to an agent who can assist with their problem.
Today’s modern IVR systems possess a litany of additional features, and some have AI functionality that makes them even more helpful for customers. Now, instead of listening to a menu and pressing some buttons, robust IVR systems can provide valuable customer service on their own, all while improving the experience for your customers.
Top IVR systems employ AI to predict the caller’s intent more accurately and ensure that the call is routed to the correct representative so they get the help they need more quickly.
When companies use IVR correctly, it can be a revolutionary customer service tool. According to Vonage, 61% of businesses worry that an IVR can lead to negative customer experiences. These concerns are valid, but they can pay significant dividends from a customer service perspective when an IVR system is implemented correctly.
Let’s dive deeper into all of the ways an IVR can integrate with your customer service department to provide your customers with better, faster, and more personalized customer service.
Our collective desire for an instant resolution to all of our problems is making 21st-century customers less and less patient when it comes to waiting for a resolution from customer service. Whether it’s a Sunday at 3 am, a national holiday, or a random Tuesday afternoon, customers expect their concerns to be heard, understood, and acted upon within the first contact.
With an IVR system, businesses can deploy a professional service that’s prepared to help customers on their terms. Providing excellent service at any time is a great way to improve customer experience and your company’s reputation.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the customer experience is spending time on hold waiting for an agent to address your issue. Needing customer service is frustrating enough, but it can quickly become unbearable when you add long wait times and annoying music into the fold.
Worst of all, this all translates to a negative experience for the customer that can impact their image of your brand moving forward.
With an interactive voice response system, customers aren’t put on hold. Instead, their concerns and needs are addressed promptly, and the system can provide actionable advice or information to the customer. In some cases, the IVR can fully resolve the customer’s issue without ever needing to speak with a representative.
Should the customer require help from a live rep, the IVR can provide all the information the customer needs, and then they can either hold for a representative or receive a call back at a more convenient time.
One area where IVRs are especially useful is performing basic diagnostics and routing the customer to the correct agent for help. Based on the customers’ answers to IVR prompts, the software can predict which department is most likely to resolve the customer’s issues and route them through.
This facet of IVR systems is perhaps the most revolutionary from a customer experience perspective. IVR allows you to develop customer satisfaction by providing your customers with an opportunity to conduct transactions themselves when they call in.
As a customer yourself, you know how frustrating it is to wait on hold and then spend valuable time talking to multiple agents before you’re able to resolve your issue.
IVR systems significantly improve the FCR (first contact resolution) rate. VoiceSage’s IVM service allows contact centers to improve first time resolutions and reduce call center volume. With self-serve options, customers can quickly make a payment, complete a survey or actionable requests without needing an agent in some cases.
A high FCR rate almost always correlates to increased customer satisfaction levels, so employing an IVR is an excellent way to keep your customers happy while improving the customers’ opinion of your business and the service you offer.
By getting customers to the proper representative or self-service solution, customer service interactions also become more efficient, allowing you to spend less time vetting customers and more time providing assistance.
Establishing a clear image across every platform and contact point is a best practice that can help you create the brand image you’re striving for. An IVR is often the first contact point for new customers, and an IVR allows you to develop clear and consistent brand messaging from the outset of your relationship with that customer.
Both inbound and outbound communications can establish the feel of your brand through music, tone, and style. It’s also an opportunity to market to the customer while you’re working to answer their questions or solve support issues.
The painful truth is that not every customer is created equally. Businesses strive to deliver exemplary service to everyone; your company will be built on the backs of your best, highest value customers.
Today’s advanced IVR systems can provide high-priority customers with a dedicated queue that ensures their needs are addressed promptly by the top representatives on your team.
While early IVR systems were difficult to implement and frustrating for customers to interact with, today’s cutting edge systems make it easy for businesses to provide an excellent customer experience.
Today’s customer expects prompt and courteous service delivered on their terms, and businesses need to build out their IVR system with that intent in mind.
When properly implemented, an IVR system can provide your business with a powerful customer service solution that can improve the customer experience while making life easier for your customer support staff.
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