by John Seeds and Karl Phenix
Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, plays a critical, and often overlooked, role in contact center transactions.
To date, Robert Wakefield-Carl, Avtex Senior Director of Contact Center Innovation, has offered insight into IVR from the perspective of your customers and your agents. This week, he’ll dig deeper into what IVR can mean for your business.
What is IVR?
From the enterprise perspective, IVR is a tool or strategy designed to help empower customers during contact center interactions. IVR offers customers a series of predefined menu options, allowing them to choose their own journey through an interaction. By selecting the option or options that fit their needs, the customer can guide themselves to automated answers or a connection to the department best suited to offer live assistance. This helps to streamline the interaction and improve the overall experience for the customer. IVR can also help to limit the volume of incoming contact center interactions that require live agent participation by guiding customers to available information or the correct agent.
How can IVR positively impact my business?
A successful IVR program can have far-reaching effect on your business. The obvious positive benefits include improved customer interactions and reduced agent workloads. However, the less apparent positive benefits are just as important. The streamlined customer experiences IVR provides can lead to improved customer loyalty, which tangentially results in increased profitability and long-term success for the organization. Similarly, the reduced agent workload can lead to a better employee experience, which results in happier staff members and reduced turnover.
How can IVR negatively impact my business?
Ineffective IVR can lead to disastrous results. When customers interact with a confusing or broken IVR system, they often encounter frustration and confusion. The more frustrated the customer becomes, the more likely they are to end their relationship with your organization. The resulting loss in customers can be devastating to your bottom line and your reputation. Contact center agents can also feel the impact of a poor IVR system as they field interactions with frustrated customers. As customers vent their misgivings about the IVR to agents, and the workload for individual agents increases, morale is likely to suffer. This can result in a loss of key talent, which further impacts your organization’s ability to deliver effective experiences to your customers.
What are the keys to successful IVR?
For an IVR solution to be truly successful at an organizational level, it must be:
- Cost effective: ROI is one of the most important factors to consider for any technology investment – IVR is no exception. To be successful, an IVR solution must provide value and be affordable. Determining the ROI of an IVR solution isn’t always easy, but as long as your customers and agents are satisfied, the solution is likely proving its worth.
- Flexible: As your organization evolves, your IVR system must be flexible enough to grow with it. IVR strategies that offer flexibility and can easily be updated offer the highest potential for success.
- Useful: We’ve already covered the impact a useful IVR system can have on customers and agents. To be successful, your organization should focus on creating an IVR menu and implementation that provides value to customers, is easy to use and capable of supporting effective interactions.
How can you get started with IVR modernization?
From an enterprise level, getting started with IVR requires planning and research. When implementing a new IVR or improving an existing system, you should first understand your customers, their needs and their preferences. What do they expect from you when calling into your contact center? What are their common goals?
The same goes for your contact center agents. Understanding the common pain points they face on a daily basis can help to build the foundation for your IVR strategy.
With this knowledge in hand, planning your IVR menu, cross-platform integrations and other features becomes a much more focused and effective exercise.
Want to know more about IVR?
IVR means many different things to the various parties involved in an interaction. For a holistic view of IVR, read the other blog posts in this series:
Looking for insight on the characteristics of an effective IVR or tips on how you can optimize the positive impact of your own IVR? Register for our upcoming webinar IVR Modernization.
Register for Our Upcoming IVR Modernization Webinar
Looking for insight on the characteristics of an effective IVR? Want tips on how you can optimize the positive impact of your own IVR? Register for our upcoming webinar IVR Modernization.