Aside from reducing business costs and providing better time management, interactive voice response systems are also quickly capturing the attention of consumers who enjoy the technology’s ease of use and convenience. That’s great news for businesses wanting to hop aboard this technology train.
In fact, IVR use is on the rise, with the global market projected to grow from almost $2 billion in 2016 to more than $3 billion by 2021, Technavio estimates. While adopting an IVR system for your business may ultimately improve call center efficiency and cut operating costs, poor deployment of this technology can backfire by creating a lackluster customer service experience.
A report by CFI Group found that poorly-designed IVR systems are one of the main culprits behind increased call center dissatisfaction scores, with these rates dropping last year to their lowest point since 2007 when tracking began. Furthermore, the same study found that more than 4 in 10 customers aren’t satisfied with IVR services, and after trying to navigate interactive menus, two-thirds of customers say they become frustrated before they even have a chance to speak with a live representative.
Fortunately, these issues can be addressed through the smarter use of IVR systems. Here are four ways you can develop a more innovative approach when adopting this technology to boost customer satisfaction.
1. Use Smart Strategies to Personalize Customer Service
Everyone can agree that customer contact centers should make it easier for their agents to deliver outstanding customer service. To help companies better hit the mark, customer service software provider Aspect has developed an IVR innovation wheel that breaks down the IVR innovation process into seven steps. The first three involve businesses making better use of the full range of digital data available to its customers in order to personalize the IVR experience to a greater degree.
Experts say the first way to fine-tune these systems is to ensure the continuity of customer notes is carried across all channels — live chat, phone, and email, for example — during each interaction before the issue is resolved. For instance, if a customer initiates a ticket through live chat, any pertinent information they relay to one representative should be available to another agent during any subsequent follow-up. Of course, this reduces overall response time and avoids frustration on the part of customers who may otherwise want to further escalate the issue up the corporate ladder.
The second step in establishing better-coordinated customer service involves selecting a platform that lets you predict caller intent. For instance, if a customer recently placed an order, odds are their call may relate to that transaction. Enabling IVR systems to access customer information at the beginning of a call can present customers with relevant menu options right away, instead of forcing them to navigate through a series of unnecessary hoops.
Finally, you can make your IVR system more personalized by using a platform that adapts to the caller’s experience. For instance, a new caller may need more instructions than someone who calls in more frequently. Thus, allowing these high-volume callers to skip preliminary instructions can save them time and improve their overall experience.
2. Contact Customers Before They Contact You
Anticipating more routine customer service requests can help avoid some issues from popping up again and again. Sometimes that’s not always feasible, though. But by utilizing personalized data that your IVR system has already gathered about your customers, your business is bound to better anticipate customers’ ongoing needs.
You may want to apply this newfound information proactively by contacting customers about their needs before they contact you. For instance, CVS Pharmacy uses prerecorded calls to notify customers when it’s time to refill or pick up a prescription. You can also proactively call customers for appointment confirmations, scheduling changes, payment reminders or service outage notifications.
3. Offer Easy-to-Use Digital Options
With new, sophisticated smartphones being released seemingly every few months, it’s no secret consumers enjoy the ease with which to communicate via text, touch, and voice. Utilizing these and other relevant features in your business can make it easier for customers to use your IVR system.
For example, the display of visual IVR navigation options on smartphone screens will allow customers to more easily see and access options. Similarly, converting text to IVR (Text2IVR) can serve as an efficient way for customers to enter personal information, such as their name, address, and ID card numbers. Research by cloud contact center provider Aspect has shown that using Text2IVR technology to capture caller information reduces interaction time between customers and live agents by several minutes and cuts costs by 60 percent to 70 percent.
4. Minimize Customer Wait Times
All the above strategies are geared toward reducing customer wait time. However, your company can further decrease that time by offering customers the option to receive a callback or use mobile self-service. Tickets resolved through automated self-service can then be removed from the service queue, saving your business valuable time and costs. By using an IVR system to give your customers more options and autonomy, you can boost customer satisfaction rates, retain more customers and generate more revenue.