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Ten ideas to Improve your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is a great way to assist your accounts without having to talk to an agent right away. Proper use of the IVR can route callers to automated processes or direct them to the proper agent who can help them the most. Sometimes, though, the front end of an IVR system is not put together well which can lead to frustrated callers and bad customer service. Here are ten ideas to create satisfied callers.

1. Get the caller to the right location as quickly as possible

Callers do not want to have their time wasted. If they get an IVR when they call, they want to be taken to the correct location to transact their business as quickly as possible. Design your IVR front-end with that thought in mind and test it carefully before launching it. No matter what the caller is calling for, getting them to the proper location will help your company image.

2. Provide only the necessary menu options

Do not have unnecessary menus or menu options. If several options lead to the same place, delete them and your callers will be a little happier when they do talk to you.

3. Do not overload the caller with lengthy introductions

Do not overload the caller with lengthy introductions. For example, do not tell them to visit your website. They have probably already checked the website before they decided to call. When people call your IVR they want resolution to their situation, not long introductions.

4. Do not force callers to navigate the IVR to learn the contact center is closed

If your business is closed and agents are not available, tell the caller so at the beginning of the IVR message. Nothing is more enraging to a caller than when they have called, gotten through, been asked a series of questions, pressed several buttons to get to the right person and then the automated message informs them that the business is closed and to call back another time.

5. Always include more than 2 on-hold messages

Have at least two on-hold messages, preferably three. From your standpoint, this is a good way to introduce the listener to new products or services. From the caller’s standpoint, listening to the same message over and over will make them very irritated which can cause a poor interaction with the agent when the connection is made.

6. Provide an option to request a call-back

There will be times when the caller can not or will not interact with the IVR. Give them an option to request a call-back from you. This is good for customer service plus it gives you an opportunity to have a real person connect with them.

7. Recognize a caller’s prior interactions

Set up your IVR system to recognize when callers have called previously and interacted with your business. Traditionally, prior interactions with a company are never taken into account when a caller reaches the IVR. By reviewing previous caller experiences and serving a personal message or IVR menu, the caller’s experience is vastly improved.

8. Provide an exit route; a method to “back up”

Give customers a method to back out of a faulty button push. When tapping numbers on a mobile phone It can be easy to select the wrong option and find you have selected something you do not want. By providing a method to go back to the previous menu, you build goodwill with the caller.

 9. Measure your IVR metrics

Your IVR can be a wealth of customer information. Each call can be recorded and each click path can be recorded and analyzed. Invest the time to understand the movements the caller makes through the IVR, how many “back ups” they do, which areas they ultimately land on and interact with and how long it takes them to go through the IVR. Analyzing the data and looking for trends and problems will help you improve the overall efficiency of your IVR system, while also providing superior service.

10. Do not settle for a limited functionality IVR system

As your business grows you are going to want to expand the IVR system in order to accommodate new services, such as virtual negotiation. Think into the future of what you want your business to be able to do: agent-assisted calls, routing the caller to automatic credit-card payments or sending them to the virtual negotiator. Do not limit yourself by choosing a small unscalable system from the beginning. Plan for, and purchase for, the future.

An IVR system is an important asset for your business. By setting it up to be efficient from the very beginning, your callers will have a good experience and you will ultimately save money and time. To learn more about IVR systems contact BillingTree or call us at 877-424-5587.