December 12, 2022
Automation has already taken the world by storm owing to its various benefits like higher productivity and availability, increased performance, and reduced operating costs. Automated IVR System i.e. Interactive Voice Response System is one such tool that streamlines workflows and is extremely useful for call center agents and supervisors.
We all know that call centers are the frontline when it comes to interaction with current and potential customers. This means that the call center should run as smoothly as possible. Cluttered and uneven workflow can simply lead to unhappy callers and even frustrated agents. So whether you run a small call center with limited agents or a global call center with a large workforce, having a contact center solution that comes with easy-to-use automation features becomes imperative.
Automated IVR or Interactive Voice Response is a technology to automate inbound calls of a call center. It allows call centers to interact with callers through pre-recorded voice messages. Callers can listen to those messages and select an appropriate option using their phone’s keypad. Some of the main functions performed by an Automated IVR are as mentioned below:
In the traditional call center landscape, callers are greeted by a human receptionist but with an automated IVR system, callers are greeted by preset voice messages. This function of IVR eliminates the need to hire human resources for attending customer calls which save money. The above image showcases one example of IVR greeting used by businesses to greet callers.
Multi-level IVR solution offer predefined menus with multiple options and gather the input provided by the callers. IVRs can also answer basic or routine queries of the callers related to the business through the pre-recorded set of questions and answers.
This is one of the most important functions performed by IVR. For the callers who choose to talk to a live agent in order to get answers to their concerns, the IVR performs the role of patching their calls with the right agents. The call routing flow is also pre-defined so that callers get to interact with appropriate agents and receive meaningful resolutions.
There are a number of benefits that IVRs offer to call centers offering services for different industry verticals. Consider the case of a banking IVR that can help customers to know their account balance thus freeing the customer support agents’ time which they can use to perform other critical tasks.
Take a look at some of the highlighting benefits of multilevel IVR systems for call centers:
As per numbers “44% of people report being annoyed or irritated when kept on hold for 5 to 15 minutes.” IVR systems help call center agents to cater to customers’ needs in time and minimize the time they spend on resolving challenges faced by the customers. All this together helps them save a lot of time and energy which certainly adds to their efficiency and call center productivity.
IVR systems make use of pre-recorded voice prompts and allow callers to respond through touch-tone keypad inputs. This fosters self-service as callers are able to perform certain tasks without having the need to take assistance from an agent. A simple example would be like updating account information, tracking order status, etc.
When it comes to after-hour customer support, IVR certainly takes the edge. It is because IVR systems can address the after-hour calls by greeting the callers and providing them with self-service options. Moreover, in case of urgent inquiries, the IVR can forward the calls to a pre-defined or dedicated after-hour support team. Also, with voicemail integration, the IVR allows callers to leave their messages during after-hours. Read our post on After Hours Business Voicemail Greetings Ideas
Do you know that “88% of customers feel that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services?” IVR systems help businesses in projecting a professional image no matter the size of the business. Startups and call center businesses with limited resources can implement the professional voice assistant in the IVR system to sound like a well-established business to its callers.
Until a few years ago, IVRs were quite expensive and only meant for large organizations. But with the introduction of cloud-based IVR systems, the scenario has completely changed. Cloud-based IVR solutions are extremely pocket friendly and do not need any hardware installation. A call center business can simply avail the hosted IVR system from a reliable service provider to get started.
IVRs are not dependent on humans for their work. Once implemented, IVRs can offer 24×7 services to callers. This means no matter the time at which a call is received, the IVR system will always be up and running to attend to the calls. This certainly contributes towards boosting the customer experience and satisfaction. Statistics tell that “94% of customers say that positive service experiences make them more likely to purchase again.”
A multilevel IVR presents the caller with a predefined menu of options and callers can choose the most suitable options based on their query or concern. The hosted IVR system makes use of intelligent call-routing algorithms to direct the call to the right agent or department. Now, this eliminates the need for manual call transfers and minimizes multiple call transfers within different departments. Not only do call wait times get reduced but also calls get handled in a more streamlined manner as well as the overall call handling efficiency gets improved significantly.
An automated IVR system provides callers with self-service options, from where they can access information quite quickly without having the need to talk to a human. In other words, we can say that IVR systems empower callers to find answers to their questions or resolve their queries on their own terms, thus offering convenience. In case the query is complex or the caller doesn’t find an appropriate answer, the IVR always present them with the option to talk to a live agent to receive personalized assistance.
Providing round-the-clock assistance to customers is one of the key issues faced by most businesses. However, by implementing an IVR system, a business can ensure 24/7 availability to handle incoming calls. IVR systems can answer basic business queries and allow callers to leave their messages on voicemail when they call outside business hours. This constant availability of hosted IVR systems certainly enhances customer satisfaction and allows the business to respond promptly to callers as soon as they reopen.
Businesses receive a number of calls with routine or basic business queries every day. An IVR system answers these queries which means the caller doesn’t have to connect with a human operator to receive answers. Additionally, it helps in saving the time of agents and allows them to focus on complex issues. This means that it increases the likelihood that callers with urgent and complex queries receive the required attention and time from the agents.
The very first step in the implementation of an automated IVR is to figure out your specific business requirements. For this, you must consider the nature of your business, the type of customers you have the nature of the queries you receive, along with the goals that aim at achieving with the help of the hosted IVR solution. Once you have this list in hand, it would be easy to chart out the specific features and functionalities that would be useful for you.
The right vendor can make things easy and better for you. So you should always perform research and evaluate different kinds of cloud phone system vendors. You can prepare a list and rank different vendors on the basis of various parameters such as features, customer reviews, reliability, scalability, customer support, pricing plans, etc. You can even avail yourself free of cost demonstrations to ensure that the hosted IVR solution aligns with your business needs.
Once you have chosen a particular IVR vendor and subscribed to a suitable plan, the next step is to start the customization of your call flows. Here, firstly, you will need to choose a suitable business phone number for which you want to set up IVR. Once done, you can create the multilevel IVR menu options and define the corresponding actions or agents to route calls. For efficient and intuitive IVR navigation, you must consider some of the most common queries asked by your callers and design the call flow accordingly. Further, you can set up some specific language options, and additional features such as call queueing or callback options.
Your IVR’s voice prompts are quite important to build a professional image among your callers. This means you need a clear, easy-to-understand, and professional voice actor to record your multilevel IVR prompts. However, you can do the same from the IVR system within. Text-to-Speech is a useful feature of the IVR system that allows you to enter a text and generate a corresponding voice prompt in different voice tones. You can test and select the most appropriate one. This eliminates the cost of hiring a voice actor for the business. You can read our post on How is Text to Speech Service Useful in Phone Systems?
Before you launch your IVR system and bring it to work, it is important to thoroughly test it. This step includes testing the accuracy of call flows, and other functionalities. In case there arise any technical issues or inconsistencies, you have the time to resolve them by getting in touch with your service provider. You can also ask your employees and customers to give their feedback for optimization of the IVR system and providing them with the best user experience.
KloudTalk is a cloud-based business phone system that comes with several useful communication features including Interactive Voice Response. What makes it stand apart is that it has an intelligent call routing feature that patches incoming customer calls with the right agents of departments. Moreover, KloudTalk allows you to make flexible IVR menus i.e. menus with multiple levels. KloudTalk’s overall user interface is super simple. So even if you have only little technical knowledge, you can easily use KloudTalk to set up and configure your business phone IVR system.
We have already mentioned that to find suitable automated IVR services for your cloud call center or business, the first step is to research and compare different vendors. Some key points to remember here are:
With these points in mind, you will be able to make an informed decision. In case you have any questions, you can always connect with us.
Note- This post has been updated with the latest information on 27-07-23.
Interactive Voice Response is an automated telephony technology that attends to incoming business calls by greeting the callers, providing them with menu options to choose from, and directing them to appropriate destinations.
The working of an IVR system comprises a series of steps including Greeting the caller, presenting menu options, receiving caller input, routing the call to an appropriate destination, and providing the necessary information.
Yes, IVR systems are designed and configured to support multiple languages so that they can cater to a diverse customer base calling from different regions around the world.
Yes, IVR systems are suitable for small businesses as they offer benefits like cost-savings, professional image, 24/7 availability, efficient call handling, etc., which can help small businesses in enhancing their overall operations and efficiency.
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