How to Improve IVR Performance?

Ever since the origins of customer care, there have been several new innovations and developments that seek to make the world of call centers a more efficient and effective operation.

The thing about call centers and customer care is that it mainly revolves around customer interactions. A two way interaction between the call center agent and the customer is what forms the essence of customer care.

There have, however, been several attempts to automate these interactions with the help of Interactive Voice Response. This happens to be one of the best call center software.

When it comes to customer interaction, not every bit of the interaction is important or unique. Naturally, it was imperative to come up with a software technology that would allow you to automate these interactions in a way that it becomes for the call center agents and the customers.

In a way, IVR promotes self-service to a certain extent. Lately, however, self-service call center management software has acquired a really bad name.

That is probably due to the inefficiency of the system and the people handling it. Basically, IVR allows the customer to press a series of buttons and choose a number of options before they are put through to a call center.

Since the human interaction is eliminated in this aspect, it did give rise to a number of problems initially. As a matter of fact, these problems do crop up from time to time if your system isn’t up to date or if the people handling it aren’t efficient enough.

When it comes to automated voice response or IVR, there are so many things that could go wrong.

Thus, it is entirely up to you to make sure that the call center software solutions function to their fullest capacity.

Although you may not be aware of it, there are quite a few things you could do to increase the efficiency of your IVR software. One of the major reasons why customers dislike the IVR software is because it is more often than not, complicated.

If you manage to keep it as simple and compact as possible, it would be easier to operate the software. Here are some tips that can enhance your interactive voice response at your call center:

1. What are the services at your call center that you want to automate? This is the first question you must ask yourself. Obviously, you are offering a horde of services at your call center – each of which takes up a different amount of time.

Some calls may take you a couple of minutes while some may take up to thirty minutes. In the former case, you can automate the services but the same principle doesn’t apply for the latter.

2. Think carefully about developing your brand. Your brand should have a clear persona or an image that the customers can see and perceive.

You need to present an image of customer interactions that go with your brand value and support the high ideals and principles that your brand stands for. If you succeed with that, your customers are not going to mind the fact that they aren’t speaking to an actual human being.

3. Study your audience well. As a company, you must be having a fixed demographic when it comes to your audience. Study them well.

Study their needs and requirements, their expectations from you, their angst, their problems and how they prefer to find solutions, how tech savvy they are, if they are comfortable with automated call center services and so on.

Once you have a clear idea of who your customer is and what they want from you, it’ll be easier to serve them.

4. Get hold of a specialist who can help you out. When it comes to IVR, there are a lot of things that can be taken into account like phonetics, linguistics, language adjustments and so on.

Unless you get hold of someone who knows the interactive voice response system by heart, it would be difficult to install the software and there are various things that could go wrong as well. You definitely want to avoid such a situation.

5. Don’t be idealistic and set impractical goals for yourself. This is the first time you are using the IVR software technology and mistakes are pretty common.

You might go wrong somewhere; but the key is to recognize your mistakes, acknowledge them and then rectify them. Set realistic goals for yourself. Make sure the goals are small term and that they can be achieved easily. Once you get the hang of it, you can start setting higher goals.

6. Greeting messages and other statutory messages are a must when it comes to interactive voice response. But are they too lengthy? Are they monotonous? Do they not add any value? Are they boring your customers to bits?

Well, if you have answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you need to review such messages. As part of your cloud call center software solutions, you need to ensure that the recorded messages are crisp and to the point.

7. Keep your recorded messages as simple as possible. As the theory suggests, a customer can remember only 7 bits of valid information at once.

For instance, you could have something like “Welcome to *name of company*, press one for services and two for sales. The shorter and more precise you are while addressing the customer, the easier it’ll be for you to retain your customers as well.

8. Don’t complicate things by adding a number of levels in the menu. Some Interactive Voice Response systems have nearly 8 to 9 levels in the menu.

That simply ends up confusing the customer; moreover, the customer may forget what the menus were in the first place.

Do not exceed 3 levels. The shorter it is, the better it is for the customer. That way, the customer wouldn’t have to waste precious time listening to all the menus before they actually select a relevant one.

9. Don’t use any technical jargon. Your customers are laymen and do not want to be greeted by technical jargon that they cannot understand. Make sure the language used in the IVR software is simple and commonplace.

It should be the language of the common man – one they can all understand. If you make your language too complicated, your customers are simply going to hang up on you.

10. Listen to the messages that you have recorded. Listen to them more than once. Judge them from the point of view of an impartial observer. Step into the shoes of your customer and judge your recorded messages from their point of view.

Is it too lengthy or is it too boring? Get rid of anything that seems boring or dumb to you. Keep only the messages that appear relevant and ones you absolutely cannot do without. Also, test your applications. It could so happen that you are going wrong somewhere. Checking and rechecking would help you rectify them.

11. Let’s face it, the IVR software might seem beneficial to you but some customers may not prefer it. Some customers may look for a way out through which they can approach you directly without having to go through the hassle.

Make sure your customers are able to do that. Make sure your customers have a way out. You could have a separate option on the menu like “Dial 0 to speak to a customer care representative”.

12. Make sure you make a call center software comparison. The kind of software technology you use for IVR should allow for natural speech recognition. That means, the technology should be implemented in such a way that it provides an IVR that comes with touch tone technology.

Having natural speech recognition software will make your system all the more intuitive and that would enhance the quality of service provided to your customer.

13. Get hold of staff members who are both trained and knowledgeable. Your customer care agents are the ones who would be handling the IVR software.

Naturally, it is important to get hold of agents who know what is to be done and how to go about it. Your agents should have an in depth knowledge of the software technology and how it works for it to function the way it should.

14. In the generation of multichannel support and omnichannel customer care, you need to have a solid voice strategy in place which isn’t just IVR centric.

For instance, you need to see if the same facilities are provided across the website or the in store services as well. And if they are, you need to check for consistency across all platforms. Are the language, phonetics and tone systems similar and consistent across the various platforms that you are using?

15. Consider having certain other services or means of communication along with your IVR services. For instance, let’s say you customer has placed an order. Now if the status of the said order changes, it is important to inform the customer about the same.

The customer can then be informed with the help of a text message that is automated or recorded. This helps you maintain open lines of communication with the customer as well.

16. Take the caller’s perspective into account before you include your internal operations. Remember, the customer is your top priority. Everything else, including your internal systems, revolves around the customer. Naturally, that is the first thing you must take into account.

Will the customer appreciate it? Based on the choices and preferences of the customer, you can modify the internal systems.

17. When IVR was first launched, it was rather isolated. That was mainly because the telephone was the only mode of communication. However, that is not the case anymore.

Today, you have omnichannel customer care. Customer support is now spread out over a large number of branches and channels. Naturally, it would be wrong to consider IVR only in isolation even today. If your interactive voice response strategy is outdated, now would be the time to update it.

18. Make sure you map your improvement and performance. There is no denying the fact that today, there are several different kinds of metrics and analytics available which can analyze and assess the overall performance of your IVR software technology.

It would not only judge the performance of the software internally but would also analyze the overall customer satisfaction that the technology brings.

19. You must take into account user opinion. The customers who are calling you up to speak about their issues are instead being greeted by recorded messages deserve to be heard.

Ask for their feedback. If they were greeted by an efficient system and good service, they’re bound to appreciate you. If you have received complaints, don’t discard them; instead, try to determine where you could possibly be going wrong.

20. Simplicity is one of the most important qualities in the IVR call center software. If you were to take a survey of customers who have availed of such services, and ask them about their complaints. Most would answer the same.

That the recorded messages make it way too complicated to operate. There are a gazillion options to choose from. A million menus and sub menus. All these end up confusing the customer. It is an earnest request; keep the IVR software as simple as possible.

The case study

By now, you have a fair idea of what the IVR software technology does, how it can help you, how to use it and how to enhance its performance.

When all is said and done, you have just been provided with twenty something tips that can help you out. But that really isn’t enough. That is why we are providing you with a detailed case study of a company that used IVR software technology and how they went about it.

In the company, Work Methods, the IVR software technology has been in use for ages, but with the advancement in science and technology, it has become possible to integrate artificial intelligence into its operations as well.

The artificial intelligence would be able to analyze and predict the purpose of the call of the customer as soon as he calls.

However, it was important to reduce the costs involved in this software technology, improve the levels of customer satisfaction and implement the software properly.

Eventually, the company came up with an IVR solution that was to be implemented in three phases. It was a predictive model that would be able to predict the purpose of the caller the moment the call arrived at the call center.

Along with that, the company even automated services that dealt with product orders, billing, trouble ticketing, provisioning and so on and so forth into the IVR software technology.

Another innovative new solution was added named CREDIT CARD INFORMATION. This solution basically acquired the details of the customer’s credit card even before it expired. That reduced the hassle for both the customer and the company.

Since the company used predictive calling as part of their IVR solutions, it was possible to reduce call handling time and thus the costs associated with handling of each call.

Implementing IVR software technology as part of your solutions could go a long way in helping your brand and your company. So what are you waiting for?

Case study Link –

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