Home Business Why Your Call Center IVR Needs a Major Upgrade

Why Your Call Center IVR Needs a Major Upgrade

by Olufisayo
Call Center IVR

When current or prospective customers contact your business, they tend to be seeking out answers or more information to make informed decisions. For the most part, they may have specific product-related questions, or they may have concerns about their bill. What’s important is that they’re contacting you and expect to have their concerns addressed appropriately and in a timely fashion.

While the use of digital channels is growing, and organizations are becoming better at leveraging them, voice is still an important medium. In fact, it’s likely still the most important channel because customers often call when they have problems that need immediate resolution or that they haven’t been able to resolve through other means.

Call Center IVR

When customers want to contact a business, their first interaction will likely be with your IVR, meaning it’s your opportunity to leave a lasting, positive first impression — that is, of course, if your IVR is up to the task. Many companies, however, have failed to make the most of their IVR and have let it slip down the list of priorities, even as they have upgraded other customer-facing systems.

But there are several ways to tell if that’s happened to your business and if you should seriously consider upgrading your IVR.

Lack of Visibility into IVR

It’s simple: you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. In order to understand the effectiveness of your IVR, you need the ability to have visibility into how callers are using it and whether they’re able to accomplish their objectives.

It’s also important to know how IVR engagements conclude. Do callers find the answers they need? Do they zero out and seek assistance from a live agent? If so, does your IVR system provide details of their IVR engagement to the live agent in order to expedite resolution times and avoid frustration?

High Abandonment Rates

Even worse than customers having to seek out live assistance is experiencing high abandonment rates in which callers simply hang up out of frustration with an IVR system that’s difficult to navigate.

Too often callers find themselves in circular paths, where they’re being sent back to an earlier point in the IVR tree because the technology is outdated, broken or simply can’t provide the right information. Regardless, that level of frustration isn’t good for any business and has a high likelihood of leading to complaints or even attrition.

Customer Complaints

These days, consumers are typically quick to express frustration with customer service tools. With self-service becoming a preferred option for an increasing number of customers — millennials, in particular, prefer to solve problems on their own — shuffling them through outdated IVR trees and not leveraging voice recognition and natural language processing technologies is likely to lead to complaints. Tracking responses from customers who have tried to use your IVR will give you a good reading its effectiveness.

Agents Doing Extra Work

Your agents are a critical piece of customer service, but their effectiveness can be limited if they’re constantly having to address questions that should be easily accessed through an IVR system.

With that in mind, interact with your agents, monitor their engagements, and look for specific trigger words or phrases that indicate callers are asking agents to perform tasks that are already part of your IVR system. You should quickly be able to identify shortcomings with your IVR, including poor navigation or things that need to be updated. Your agents will be most effective if they’re able to focus on calls that have more urgent or complex concerns.

Difficult to Update

One of the biggest reasons companies neglect their IVR is because these systems may be difficult to update for current needs. Despite the hesitation or consternation around the servicing of this technology, IVR systems should be updated regularly to address new customer needs, product updates and other emerging opportunities to allow customers to easily access information. Modern IVR systems allow simple creation and updates through intuitive interfaces that anyone can use. In other words, it shouldn’t take an IT expert to manage an IVR system.

Outdated Technology

As consumers become more digitally savvy, they will expect self-service solutions to evolve with them. If your IVR can’t provide modern features for a digital, mobile customer base, you run the risk of losing them to competitors who can answer that bell. Artificial intelligence and contextual interactions are gaining traction because of their ability to improve the efficiency and quality of customer service. But features like Text2IVR and visual IVR give customers more options for self-service, depending on the preferences during any engagement.

Enhancing Your Customer Service Strategy

It really doesn’t matter what or how is preventing your IVR from being effective. Your customers don’t care, either. They simply expect to be able to resolve their concerns quickly and easily using the kind of technology of which they’re grown accustomed.

Take a close look at your IVR, how your customers are using it, what they are saying about it, and make sure to include it in your feedback campaigns. IVR doesn’t have to be the forgotten customer service tool — in fact, it can and should be a key component of your modern customer service strategy.

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