Improve IVR to create a better customer experience

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a phone system that uses the phone keypad or voice recognition to direct customers through a company’s customer support system. Depending on the industry, customers might be calling about product support like a smart home device, subscription information or financial issues. IVR systems guide customers towards a specialized support agent or accessing a self-service solution.

From the customer perspective, IVR can be one of the worst customer support experiences.

iphone hello ivr smartphone

The IVR menu might be too generic and customers waste time attempting to connect to any queue just to speak to someone. If driven by voice recognition, problems occur when the IVR doesn’t understand the context of the issue. Leading the customer to be transferred to a general agent that may not be able to solve their specific issue.

A properly designed and deployed IVR should make it simple for customers to resolve an issue, whether that’s with a specialized agent or a self-service option that provides the best solution. Customer support is strongly tied to customer loyalty and it’s important that companies don’t provide IVR because they have to, but because they know how beneficial it can be. The Farmer’s Dog saw customer issue resolution and handle time decrease from a 20 minute average to five minutes when it implemented the UJET platform for IVR.

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When a customer calls support and realizes they have to go through an IVR, the initial response can be negative. IVR that uses the phone keypad can be time-consuming for customers. While it may be more accurate because each option is specific, customers must listen to every option. It’s also possible that the desired option isn’t available.

Voice recognition can lead customers to an agent faster because they are able to vocally state the issue, but if the voice recognition isn’t robust, the system might not understand what the customer is saying and transfer the call to the wrong agent. This creates frustration because the customer has to restate the issue again.

Integrate data into IVR

This is why it’s important for a company to integrate customer data into the design of its IVR tree. What are the most common support issues that customers contact support about? These should be included in the IVR. How specific does the IVR tree go beyond the first set of questions before connecting with an agent? You don’t want to require customers to answer multiple questions. Even though more specifity will provide greater context, it can create a negative customer experience.

If your IVR uses voice recognition, it must have enough data to understand customer statements. Since people don’t explain problems in the same way, voice recognition needs to be able to highlight the context of the problem and transfer customers correctly.

Cloud-based apps offer more options

Customer support platforms are moving to the cloud. A cloud-based platform has a number of important benefits. Cloud support platforms are more easily scaled than on-premise software and can be updated with new features without impacting a company’s customer support team.

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can be integrated with cloud-based support. These integrations can give agents more context by providing customer profile information, past purchase history and more. With this information, agents are able to spend less time asking introductory questions and move to solving the problem quickly.

Solving customer issues has two large benefits as well. The first is that the customer is happy that the solution was solved quickly. CCW’s Intelligent Customer Contact Workforce report states that more than 70% of customers consider fast solutions as a priority. The second is that agent productivity increases.

smartphone ios siri voice recognition voice assistant

Increasing issue resolution with IVR can be achieved by optimizing the customer path. This can be achieved by offering a general help phone number for general questions for current and potential customers that offers self-service answers. The company could also offer a specific secondary number that sends customers to a specific part of the IVR tree - or skip the IVR tree altogether and go directly into the appropriate agent queue. For example, if a customer has a billing question, they can call a specific number and contact billing directly.

Another option is to optimize the IVR with user segmentation. CRM integration supplies the cloud support platform with customer information and when it recognizes tagged customer data, it can route the customer to a different queue. This separate queue could be for a different set of users like drivers for an on-demand service who need specific support instead of general support questions.

IVR will be a consistent channel

IVR is a useful support channel because it can service a lot of different customers. Those looking for a self-service solution can find one quickly if IVR is able to correctly route customers to answers. IVR with voice recognition needs to have enough data to understand the context of spoken statements. Using customer data and modern IVR systems, organizations can reduce customer frustration by quickly transferring customers to the right agent.

Technology won’t replace existing customer support channels, but it can evolve and improve them. The benefit of using a cloud-based customer support platform goes beyond cost savings. Using a modern customer support platform ensures that your company is offering an experience that meets customer expectations.