(Update: This blog was originally published on 14th December 2018 and was last updated on 23rd March 2021 for comprehensiveness and accuracy.)
“Press 1 for transaction history, press 2 for sales, press 3 for customer support”.
Sounds familiar, right?
It’s hard to imagine modern businesses without the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology.
IVR has successfully transformed businesses across the world, resulting in higher efficiency, enhanced productivity, and improved customer service—all leading to increased profits.
However, as with most advanced solutions, improper usage or lack of understanding often leads to misconceptions and IVR is no exception to this. As a result, new business owners often fall prey to such myths in the market and hesitate to incorporate this technology.
We have decided to set the record straight and help you understand this marvellous technology.
Contrary to popular belief, setting up an IVR is not at all difficult or overly technical. Some businesses fret that successful IVR routing or recording messages would require hiring experts. However, most reliable service providers offer access to a user-friendly dashboard through which any individual can readily install, tweak and maintain the system.
Call routing strategies can be easily implemented to quickly direct callers to an agent or the self-service option(s). Some portals also offer ready-to-use recordings for common situations. Furthermore, modern text-to-speech technology allows single-click conversion—eliminating the need and expenditure on professional voice artists.
This is one of the most common misconceptions. Businesses believe that customers wish to talk to agents even for the most common or simplest of queries. Au contraire, customers demand speedy resolution and do not want to wait to speak to an agent. This is especially the case with frequent questions related to billing history, hours of operation, offer details or updating contact information.
The self-service option within the IVR optimally handles such queries and provides instant resolution. It is also helpful in cases where customers themselves wish to make changes to their existing ‘plans’, request special services like repair, or make a payment.
This solution becomes a problem when it is either used excessively or within a complicated call routing mechanism. The thumb rule is to allow easy access to live agents while allowing access to the self-service option as well. In case a customer is unable to resolve a problem through self-service or has a complicated query, live-agents must be readily available.
IVR technology of the day is implemented via cloud solutions. Hence, there is no need for bulky hardware or complicated wiring. As a business owner, you need not purchase landlines, servers, dedicated systems and software. A stable Internet connection along with a smart device is all you need to get started. This substantially brings down the cost involved and increases the ROI.
Opting for a pay-as-you-use model further optimises the expenditure and allows for easy scalability without worrying about the budget.
IVR technology offers a great way to revolutionise customer contact points and, hence, improves the quality of service. Companies, irrespective of their scale, need to create quality experiences to establish long-term business relationships and boost revenue. Losing potential leads due to limited staff or long waiting time is detrimental to all enterprises—especially new ones.
Incorporating IVR solves such issues while reducing operational costs. It employs the auto-attendant feature, thus eliminating the need for a dedicated staff member to transfer calls. Customers may call at any time of the day—even during off-hours—and the attendant will answer the incoming call.
It further optimises the workflow for the agents, reducing their load with the self-service option. This practice provides agents with ample time and energy to attend to calls that need their undivided attention.
Finally, many start-ups and small businesses run remotely, especially in the business climate today. IVR technology grants the freedom and flexibility to operate with ease from any location. It automatically forwards the call to any smart device, thus reducing the dependency on traditional infrastructure.
IVR and on-hold music enhance caller experience rather than diminishing it. In fact, studies suggest that, as compared to silence, on-hold music reduces the caller’s perception of time. However, let’s not forget, long queues and waiting time can infuriate any caller.
Typically, a wait time of 30 seconds to a minute is preferable and does not irk the customer. Whereas, a wait time of more than two minutes can drastically deteriorate customer experience.
Thus, an intelligent call routing strategy is a must for the successful implementation of IVR. Businesses must find a routing mechanism that fits their specific requirement. Blindly aping a competitor’s mechanism will not give the desired result. Quality discussion and research before finalising call flow ensure that callers easily reach their destination without any hassle.
Interactive voice response is a powerful solution for all businesses of any scale or size. It has immense benefits that promise a glitch-free and enhanced calling experience.
It is important to note that most myths around IVR are centred on its improper implementation or lack of knowledge. Complicated call routing, multiple transfers and long waiting time are often mistaken as a byproduct of this technology. However, the reality is that a successful IVR integration eliminates all the stated problems. Therefore, it is important to understand IVR in detail before taking a final decision.
We hope to have busted some common myths around this technology and informed you of its boundless applications.
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