“Press 1 for Sales, press 2 for Support…” IVR software, or Interactive Voice Response, has been around for years, but has developed to be intelligent and more useful than ever. It enables callers to use voice or touch commands to interact with an automated system, which then routes their call, or in some cases, provides them with the information they need. While the software used to be infamous for mishearing information, it has grown in accuracy and today provides customers with streamlined call experiences. Here are some of the new features that empower IVR software to be an incredibly helpful business tool.
While some smaller businesses may have a single level of IVR where the caller provides one input and then is routed to a person, many have added multiple levels of automated questioning to provide more specialized help. When customers spend more time on the IVR getting to the root of why they are actually calling, staff can spend less time transferring calls to different departments. And here’s a quick hint for smaller businesses: even if you have a small team, you can still have a multi-level IVR that will make you appear bigger than you are. Multiple paths can connect to the same team or person, but gives your customers the illusion of going deeper down a funnel.
Similar to the benefits of having multiple levels to your IVR, skills-based routing cuts down on transfers and staff confusion. Different members of your team can be assigned different skill levels or specialties, ensuring that this happens. Answers to the IVR questions then correspond with those skill levels and specialties. This ensures that the first representative a customer talks to is able to completely solve their issues. This routing method creates staff efficiency; for example, newer employees can handle basic inquiries like changing a password and more advanced employees can then spend their time on more complex issues.
One of the biggest developments to IVR systems is the ability to integrate with systems beyond just audio calling. Call centers that are focused on customer service can now include IVR into their voice calls, text messages, email and more. Chat users can follow similar paths to what is offered on the IVR and then the agents can help customers across multiple platforms. While many people still prefer to call companies for assistance, more and more people are turning to online and mobile methods. By integrating your IVR into a full contact center platform, you can create an omnichannel (and 21st century) experience for your audience.
Sixty-six percent of customers say waiting on hold is the most frustrating part of the customer service experience. Unfortunately, with sometimes unpredictable call volumes, businesses have to be prepared to put their callers in that situation. There is a way to solve for it: queue callback. This feature allows callers to provide a phone number to be called back when it is their turn to speak to a representative instead of staying on the line. Adopting this feature shows that the business cares about their callers’ time and values their choice to call.
IVR software continues to improve year over year, and callers have come to expect it when they call a business. In a world where we are surrounded by distractions, we want the best service possible in the shortest amount of time. With the innovations made to IVR, including multi-channel integration, skills-based routing, and multi-level systems, companies are able to meet customers where they are.