While non-voice channels continue to rise in popularity, especially with younger customers, it’s important to continue to improve your voice channels as well. Voice is often popular for more complex issues or questions, and among older customers. All channels should be efficient and user friendly, and a great IVR (interactive voice response) solution can help.
A good IVR can improve the customer journey, but this improvement is only possible if the IVR is implemented ideally. An improper implementation can result in many disadvantages and unhappy customers. An overly complicated menu can confuse and frustrate customers, and a short menu can skip over important options and have no effect on wait times. These menus may also be unprepared for uncommon scenarios, and the options may be too ambiguous for a customer choose confidently. In addition, even the best IVR cannot replace live agents completely. Agents are still an incredibly valuable part of the contact center and are very much necessary. Whether it is a customer with a brand-new question or just someone who wants to speak to a human, live agents are greatly appreciated. However, a well implemented IVR can have many advantages:
- IVRs can speed up service and enable customers to get the information they need quickly, without waiting for an agent. For simple queries, IVRs remove any potential wait time and let customers get straight to the point. It also reduces queue times for customers with more complicated issues, which in turn lowers call abandonment rates. In addition, the number of simple, redundant questions agents answer is reduced, saving them time as well.
- A good IVR can also be very cost effective – a single call with a live agent can be more expensive than 6 to 7 IVR calls. In addition, by automating simple queries, agents now have more time to focus on more complex, value-add work. Agents can now work on upselling, cross-selling, and loyalty work rather than answering repetitive, simple questions. This reduction in redundant, boring work can also reduce staff attrition by increasing employee happiness.
- While an IVR ‘s implementation may require a lot of effort, once it’s set up, it can simplify many processes. The automated customer support can help direct customers to the best agent, and possibly answer a customer’s question without even connecting to an agent. IVRs also allow for prerecorded messages that could answer frequently asked questions, or clarify menu options as well. Custom workflows can help connect customers to the most qualified agent, and save agents time with skills-based routing.
An IVR is a great tool when used appropriately, and you can learn more about IVRs as well as other self service options through ContactBabel’s Inner Circle Guide to AI-Enabled Self-Service.