In BillingTree’s recent 2016 Collection Agency Operations and Technology Survey, collection agencies were asked what technology they were planning to implement in the next year in order to help develop their business. Online portals took the top spot with 86% of the respondents, but Telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) came in third at 47.8%.
It is something of a pity that less than half of collection agencies are considering adding IVR to their technology. The ability to automatically sort and direct clients before they talk to an agent has significant benefits for a collection agency. Here are eight benefits of an IVR:
1. IVRs are customer-friendly
Customers are used to interacting with an IVR because they do it with many other businesses from financial institutions to department stores. Customers are happy when they can select the person or department that they want to speak with immediately so that they do not need to go through several people to get there. One tip for ensuring happy customers: limit the number of prompts that the customer must choose. Too many choices leads to customers dropping out.
2. IVRs allow you to automate customer support
IVRs provide your customers with the option of helping themselves. Many times a question or a request for information can be resolved automatically without the need to speak to an agent. Automating customer support provides significant cost savings for your company due to not needing as many agents in customer-support roles.
3. IVRs reduce transfer errors
How many times have you made a call to a company, spoken to a live person and then were transferred several times until you reached the right person? IVRs transfer calls to the most appropriate agent or department automatically and without fail. Considering that it is the customer who makes the selection, there are reduced feelings of frustration by the caller.
4. IVRs allow you to prioritize calls based on value
A good IVR system will prioritize calls before bringing a live agent into the picture. A front-end IVR can be programmed to ask if the caller has an urgent matter that needs attention immediately (like a late payment) vs. a routine question or request for information. The ability to address immediate and urgent needs while handling routine calls with an automated system increases customer satisfaction as well as cuts manpower costs due to elimination of agents handling routine matters.
5. IVRs can increase customer service, agent and company efficiency
IVRs allow agents to be more proficient at meeting the specific needs of the callers that are routed to them. With an IVR system, your agents will be less likely to place calls on hold, call a manager for help or transfer the call to another agent with more experience. This results in a significant increase in customer service, agent and company efficiency.
6. IVRs can improve your professionalism
In any business it is important to project a professional image from the beginning. An IVR with a well-recorded set of messages will greet your customers professionally and begin to help them immediately. An IVR is especially good for a smaller agency because it can deliver the impression that the company has a significant number of departments and employees, thus assuaging the caller’s fear of the agency “not being like the big banks”.
7. IVRs can be inexpensive
IVRs are not just for enterprise companies. With cloud-based technology, there are low cost setups and reasonable ongoing maintenance costs; and no expensive hardware to install. Any company can afford one, no matter what their budget.
8. IVRs can increase revenue
When great customer service is delivered to callers and agent efficiency increases, the results are obvious; smaller operating costs and increased revenue.
For more than a decade, BillingTree has been committed to understanding the marketplace and growing payments with technology, to help clients grow their business. Included in our offerings is Interactive Voice Response to help your company operate more efficiently. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you to bridge the technology gap and stay up-to-date on the latest in payment processing.