IVR Payment Processing 101 for Credit Unions

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is call center software that enables callers to service their account or make payments using spoken or typed commands on the telephone keypad without needing to talk with an representative. With an IVR payment processing system, callers can make debit card, credit card, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments 24 hours a day.

Most consumers are familiar with IVR payment processing systems. Many may associate IVRs with the standard initial language selection that they hear that often says “Press 1 to continue in English”.

IVR systems greet callers and assist them in reaching the most appropriate resource for their needs. They do this by responding to caller input, either voice or via the telephone keypad. As the caller makes selections based on the menu prompts, the system begins to narrow down who or what the best end goal will be using skills-based routing.

All scripting and caller options in the IVR are custom; they are programmed into the system by the business that is using it. In addition, the IVR system produces reports such as daily usage, option paths callers selected through the system, most commonly used functions and the average time spent on the phone.

There are two types of IVR systems: company-owned and hosted. Company-owned means the company has installed the software on their servers and programmed it. This requires purchasing the software and extra equipment and an IT staff to service it. Hosted IVR systems are owned by another company and are resident on their servers. When a customer calls the IVR phone number, the call is seamlessly routed to the hosting company's server. When the customer makes selections based on their needs the IVR connects them with the appropriate resource.

What are the advantages of an IVR system?

IVRs are very useful for all sizes of companies. Here are some advantages for a credit union:

Self-service. Members can manage their accounts through an IVR system without ever needing to talk with a representative. They can make payments, review their balances and learn about new products through their phones. This frees up significant time for the call center and lets them focus on other important business matters.

Increased first-call resolution. An effective IVR routes callers to the most appropriate resource or representative, making it easy for their inquiry to be handled efficiently and without transfers or escalations.

Reduce operational costs. Many times a member does not need to speak with a representative to resolve their question or issue. An IVR payment processing system can direct them to the resources necessary online. This significantly lowers operating costs by boosting the staff productivity.

Collect caller information. IVR systems record caller responses and add them to the caller’s contact history. This enables callers to receive personalized service from the representative who answers their call.

So when you set up your organization for member service, consider adding an IVR system to your telephone offerings. The cost savings and increased member satisfaction will be a benefit to your business.

BillingTree provides payment processing for credit unions that offers a wide variety of payment methods from web portals to mobile payments to IVR systems. To find out more, contact BillingTree or call us at 877-424-5587.