The IVR Solution: Customer Service Best Practices

Aug 03, 2015

Posted In: Call Center Solutions, Customer Service, IVM, IVR, VOIP Author: Mckay Bird

For many people, calling customer service ranks right up there with going to the dentist or visiting the DMV on a list of their least favorite things. It’s viewed as tedious, potentially painful and time-intensive; but it turns out, it’s actually a lot worse than most people realize.

The average American spends more than 30 hours a year waiting to resolve customer service issues. The collective cost to individuals—in this country alone—in terms of time is well over $100 billion, and the frustration factor is off the charts. For businesses or organizations looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors, a more efficient customer service solution would be a great place to start.

The IVR Option
An interactive voice response (IVR) system is an automated customer service solution that uses pre-recorded responses to meet caller needs. It gathers data, cuts down on wait time and routes calls to representatives who are best able to handle the customers’ issues or questions. When well-designed, IVR can save considerable time and money—for both you and your customers.

However, not all IVR systems are alike, and not all of them actually save the customer time. If you’re considering an IVR system or you need to improve the one you have, here are a few best practices that will enable you to better offer the service your customers want and need.

Start With the Customer
Effective IVR systems start with the customer’s experience and satisfaction. Consider the following customer service statistics:

  • 55% of your customers would pay more to ensure better service.
  • Customers are four times more likely to seek out a competitor due to bad service than price or product.
  • In order to balance out one negative service experience, a customer needs 12 positive experiences.

In other words, IVR, at its core, must facilitate positive customer service. To do that, your IVR should be designed from the perspective of the caller, not your company.

People aren’t crazy about automated systems, so make sure it’s top-notch to counter that initial negative perception. Skip data collection that isn’t pertinent to the need at hand, and make sure your customers don’t have to repeat themselves multiple times. Utilize a system that presents all the data that’s been collected to the agent who ends up handling the call.

Keep It Simple
When you’re call steering, make sure your menus never include more than four options or two levels of options. For a self-service application, start with straightforward, high-volume needs and build outward. Don’t automate complicated transactions. Instead, route the call to an agent who’s skilled at handling complex service needs.

Reduce Customer Effort
The most important aspect of improving customer service and increasing loyalty is lowering customer effort. If your IVR system is hard to maneuver, takes too much time or is otherwise difficult to endure, your brand and sales will suffer accordingly. Reduce the amount of work your IVR system requires as much as possible, and your customers will thank you.

Find out more about an IVR solution that can put these best practices to work for you.

For more information on how to work smarter with business intelligence solutions for the modern call center, check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.

About the Author: Mckay Bird

Mckay Bird is the Chief Marketing Officer for TCN, a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Mckay oversees all marketing operations, campaigns and conferences including; content production, email marketing, and other inbound marketing activities.