In the call center industry where customer satisfaction and retention is essential for success, it is an all-important task to look for strategies that can lead your call center towards the right track. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to deploy IVR or Interactive Voice Response System in your business.
“There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting”. This remarkable dialog from a movie ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ is totally relevant to the IVRs in call centers. Why you ask? In the quote, the ‘rope’ is necessarily the telephone wire for your reps and ‘people’ can be easily termed as IVR.
However, just like most other things, it also has its share of good, bad and ugly. Let us take a detailed look at IVR, to identify its merits, fallacies, and shortcomings.
The Good IVR
- Reduction in operational cost:
It replaces employees who answer the calls to route to an agent. IVR is affordable compared to human resource. It reduces operational costs and increases return on investment.
- Less Time, More Work:
One of the many reasons to integrate IVR is to have the menu designed in a way that route callers to the most appropriate agent. This reduces the chance of routing the call to an unsuitable rep. Thus, it saves the time of both the agent and the caller.
- Personalized Message:
IVR gives you the liberty to record customized messages and prompts to the clients. It greets the customers with their first name if the caller is known by the caller ID. This gives your customers a personalized experience. What more – it works 24/7 and is never tired, unlike reps.
- Call Priority:
IVR gives you the privilege to prioritize calls based on the caller’s value. When a high-value customer calls, you don’t want it to go unattended. The caller will be transferred directly to the qualified agent and if all the agents are busy, it will be directed at the front of the waiting queue.
- Better Customer Service:
Call centers that use IVR are more efficient in solving customers issues because agents are assigned only to specific customers with specific problems, which they are capable of solving. This sets an image of ‘expert customer service’ to the callers.
- Improved First Call Resolution Rates:
A speech-enabled based IVR gives customers the privilege of carrying out transactions or get information about products and services on their own, without interacting with a live agent. This will result into zero call drops and thereby, high rate of first call resolution rates.
The Bad IVR
- Lengthy Menus:
Sometimes, menus tend to become too lengthy. According to experts, no menu should exceed four choices. A lesser number of choices make it easy for the caller to remember. Do not make your customers press too many options. Complicated menu level and choices frustrate the customers. Limited menu choices and options can make your IVR proficient.
- Misleading Voice Prompts:
Voice Prompts can be too hard to understand at times. To save money organizations choose cheap text-to-speech software that has low audio quality and therefore, the message goes unheard.
- Too Much Information:
Often, organizations put too much information in an IVR script. When writing a script for an IVR, try to exclude the superfluous information and avoid offering it all to the customers.
- Poor Management:
After a customer’s call is connected, sometimes IVR takes more time than it should, to transfer the call to reps due to a long queue. This long time taken for transferring the calls makes customers dislike the IVR system.
- Repeating Yes or No in Menu Options:
A lot of automatic speech recognition repeats the answer followed by the callers and asks them to confirm by speaking Yes or No. This might be an important step for IVR developers, but it becomes really annoying for the customers to repeat every answer. Customers land up not preferring IVR as they have to press dual tone multi-frequency keys too many times.
- Irrelevant Advertisement and Annoying Music:
After a tiring day, customers often are put on hold for a really long time. Thereafter, IVR does the worst by playing that call hold advertising and music. The ad is irrelevant for most people and they are left with no option but to listen to it repeatedly, unless the agent comes into the role.
We think that the effects of IVR are somewhat balanced. There are many merits, accompanied with some imperfections.