You’ve been on your phone for what seems like hours, but it’s really only been five minutes. Finally, a robotic voice greets you. After choosing from a list of options, he manages to solve his concerns with the help of that robotic voice.
This is just one feature of Interactive Voice Response . Also known as IVR, it is a technology that allows callers to interact with the company without being connected to an operator.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and what it is. You’ll also learn the benefits of IVR tools to help you decide if they’re right for your business.
But first, know the points that will be addressed in this article.
- 1) What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?
- 2) Why use an IVR system?
- 3) How does an IVR system work?
- 4) 6 benefits of IVR for a call center
- 4.1) Better customer service
- 4.2) Unlimited client access
- 4.3) Wider customization
- 4.4) Create a better company image
- 4.5) More benefits for the company
- 4.6) No errors
What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a phone system feature that allows customers or business employees to interact with a computer system through voice or touch-tone dialing.
With Interactive Voice Response, the automated phone system can have basic interactions with your calling customers without going through a human operator, consuming both your and your agent’s time.
An IVR system is an efficient way to route calls to their proper recipient. The IVR can prompt customers through a series of menus and options that will lead them to the correct agent . That way, when they finally speak with a human voice, it’s someone who’s equipped to handle your concerns.
IVR system responses are played after user input. These responses can be pre-recorded audio files or digitally generated voices , and can automatically assist, direct, and route calls based on user responses.
Within these interactions, customers can communicate using touch-tone keypad selection or voice phone input . Responses take the form of voice, callback, or any other related means (such as sending an email or text alert).
All of these features can be used without the help of a live operator. This reduces the number of people needed to address customer concerns and limits the amount of time skilled agents have to spend on more menial tasks like routing calls.
Why use an IVR system?
Traditionally, customers seek help from customer service specialists in person (such as when visiting Apple’s Genius Bar) or over the phone by calling a dedicated customer support number.
But with the advent of new technologies like interactive voice response systems and the increasing prevalence of online support resources like FAQs or live chat options on a company’s website, customers may rely less on these . personal interactions and more in self-service.
This survey highlights two important trends worth considering when designing your call center:
- Customers want self-service. You can achieve this through an interactive system such as Voice Over IP (VoIP) that integrates interactive voice response systems.
- The shift to using digital sources first instead of traditional call centers means companies must prioritize digital transformation initiatives to stay relevant.
When your business deals with a large number of incoming calls , flow and timeliness of service are important to your customers. That’s exactly what Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can bring to the table.
Call centers can operate more smoothly with IVR as customer service agents reduce the time they spend routing calls and can instead focus on resolving customer issues.
Bottom line : An IVR helps agents triage customer needs. They can prioritize calls based on customers whose concerns are urgent or can be resolved quickly. This makes resolution times faster and improves the customer experience .
How does an IVR system work?
An interactive voice response system is a type of computer telephony integration (CTI). To integrate IVR technology into your contact center, you need a dedicated IVR phone system and software that allows you to pre-record greetings for callers.
You can customize these recordings based on the caller’s needs. This way, they will hear a different message when they try to log in to their account , than when they call to buy products from your company.
For the end user, these interactive systems work in a way that allows them to navigate through your contact center and find a suitable solution quickly. As a customer, when you make a call to the business, the IVR system will respond by giving you a pre-recorded greeting and asking you to choose from a fixed menu.
For example: By pressing “one” on the keyboard, you will receive a certain service .
For your team, this means customers can route their calls to the appropriate parties. Overall, this translates to fewer incoming calls , lower operating costs, and increased productivity for your team members.
Interactive voice response systems also make customers feel better served.
These IVR features can complement your existing call center services:
- Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): a telephony device to route calls to your call center agents
- Skills-based routing – a service that assigns incoming calls to the most suitable agent
- Business Hours or Time Based Routing – Call centers operate on different shifts. This can help customers access short, relevant information by having an IVR system that is available for self-service 24/7.
- Call Routing – A call management feature for phone systems where incoming calls are queued and then routed to a specific person or department based on pre-set rules and criteria.
- Ring Groups – A group of phone numbers/extensions or physical phones that ring simultaneously if an extension is dialed.
- Call Queues – A way to direct callers to the right agents or departments that can help with caller concerns.
- Callback number – If no agents are available to answer a call, your interactive voice response system can request the caller’s number for a scheduled callback.
Of course, each IVR system can be adapted to the needs of your business. Let’s get into some of the things you can consider when deciding how to implement IVR technology for your business.
6 benefits of IVR for a call center
Here’s a list of the benefits you get by adopting IVR capabilities into your call center workflows:
best customer service
No business can prosper without customers. Therefore, having a good customer experience is imperative. Several studies report that 48% of customers prefer to use the phone to solve their problems .
Interactive voice response systems also make customers feel better served. IVR systems ensure that any common question a customer may have, a quick response is already available.
A good IVR flow provides informative and time-efficient responses , guiding customers through an intuitive menu directly to the department that can best address their needs.
Ultimately, this means answering a call on the first ring, thereby reducing customer waiting time and reducing call volume , saving time for both the customer and the business.
And because they’re talking to the person who can solve their problems, there’s a much better chance of fixing the problem on the first call.
Unlimited client access
While office hours, holidays, and breaks dictate and limit employee availability, IVR systems are always available to the customer. They can call your contact center and interact with your IVR systems at any time , even outside of your business hours.
This means that a customer can receive customer service whenever they need it. While the option of having a live representative is still essential for more complex support requests, an IVR system provides unlimited access to a basic level of customer service.
IVR systems allow for tremendous customization, creating a better relationship with customers . Each IVR system can be modified and programmed with custom greetings for known callers.
This is possible if caller ID information is available or if the IVR is part of a larger cloud phone system with CRM integration . In addition to addressing a caller by name, the system can also identify and share any additional information specific to them.
In addition to programming caller information, IVR systems come with several language options tailored to specific customers or callers . This is essential for companies that operate in multiple countries or intend to expand globally.
Plus, you can record any personalized greetings you want and include the right prompts when you need to transfer callers to the appropriate department.
Create a better company image
If you have a smaller business, you may not necessarily have the call volume that IVR technology requires, but it can still be a beneficial tool to have. An IVR creates the idea that your company is huge, since a receptionist would not be able to manage the volume of calls from it.
For larger businesses, these systems foster a professional image by maintaining consistency in customer service and call volume.
More benefits for the company
A large part of business and transactions are carried out over the phone. Many companies still use the traditional way: using human agents who respond directly to incoming calls from customers.
IVR offers the option of a virtual receptionist and operator, saving on labor costs and freeing up the time of your service team. This promotes a better way to use your resources while still serving the needs of your customers.
Additionally, since the IVR system will continue to function even with high call volumes, it will be able to continually address customer needs and provide customer satisfaction , which will improve retention rates (and therefore profits).
High call volumes tend to be a mental strain on call center agents, which can result in misdirected users as well as long wait times.
This can seriously affect the customer service experience. With the IVR system’s automated routing, you greatly reduce the risk of errors in directing a customer where they need to go.
Congratulations! You have learned all about an IVR system and its importance within a call center. As you could read, this greatly simplifies the repetitive tasks of agents and prevents your customers from having long waiting times. This is a win and win. Therefore, always use this system within your campaigns.