April 13, 2022
There was a time when (IVR) Interactive Voice Response System was just about menus presenting lists of options in a robotic voice-over to callers. Those IVRs were based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and not designed around the customers’ needs. The menus were complex and lengthy which made it hard for callers to get answers to their queries. Even for the simplest issues, customers had to undergo a long list of options or wait till an agent becomes available. All this was certainly frustrating for the customers.
Today, times have changed. Stats tell us that “50% of the customers feel that there is a major need for improvements in the customer service and support offered by most companies.” Since voice is a popular communication channel these days and like every other tool, IVRs have improved a lot over the years, they can be of great value for today’s businesses. Before we move further on that, let us first understand the basic concept of an IVR.
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IVR system is an abbreviation for Interactive Voice Response System which is a menu system to which callers can interact through keypad selections or voice responses. Many of us would certainly have had a first-hand experience with an IVR when called a business and navigated the menu by making the appropriate selection.
Deploying an IVR system in your business simply means automating customer interactions which in turn provides a plethora of benefits. Below is one by one description of each of the benefits:
If we consider the traditional scenario where a receptionist answers the business calls, then you can imagine how stressful it is when there are multiple calls at the same time. Also, while the receptionist attends to one caller and transfers the call to a suitable agent, the other callers have to wait for their turn to come. But with an IVR system in place, calls are directed to another agent if one of the agents is busy on call without any delay. This simply means higher call volumes get managed easily through an Interactive Voice Response System.
An Interactive Voice Response System is designed and developed in a way that they do its job without any human intervention. IVRs can answer basic and simple business-related questions that arrive on a daily basis. This means that IVRs simply replace an agent or a receptionist which reduces the number of agents. So all in all, a business would need to hire a lesser number of employees to answer customer calls when they have IVR.
Sitting at a restaurant and waiting for your food to arrive? As a customer, you can understand what waiting time means. It has been found that 9 out of 10 customers expect a resolution within 24 hours from a business. Such facts tell that consumers want their issues and concerns to be resolved quickly and an Interactive Voice Response System does the job by providing support for routine queries and directing the calls to the right agents. The crux is that no matter if you are a small business or a big one, effective customer service is a vital part of any business.
For any business, customers are the topmost priority. According to statistics, “79% of the consumers believe that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.” Further, it has been found that “93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. Therefore, it is important for a business to provide customers with a high-quality experience right from the first point of contact i.e. when the call is received for the first time.
A receptionist or agent who is already confused with other calls when addresses the customer from the first point of contact might not give a good impression. However, an IVR system presents clear, concise, and correct menu options to the caller from which they can make the appropriate choice and are directed to a suitable agent instantly. What’s more? IVRs can even support multiple languages which mean customers can choose their preferred language. Now that’s an added breeze!
No confusion, no wastage of time, and more customer happiness. After all, “Nurtured leads make purchases worth almost 50% more than non-nurtured leads.”
The way business calls are managed has a direct impact on operational costs. The more customer stays on call, the more your business will be charged. Even a few extra minutes for every other call when adding up together make a huge financial burden. Since IVRs help in handling large call volumes without any human intervention and in a systemized way, it lets you save on your expenses. Also, IVRs have a pre-defined set of menu options that are linked to appropriate agents. So when the customer chooses an option, the call is instantly transferred to the agent who is most appropriate to resolve or address the issue. This means there is no unnecessary call transfer between departments or agents.
Since IVRs automate call handling to a considerable extent, it saves time for both customers and businesses. The short and quick process of choosing a suitable option from the menu presented by an IVR can otherwise be a couple of minutes of waiting as the agent patches the caller to another agent, which could result in frustration and confusion. Thus, deployment of IVR results in improvement of various metrics such as average answer speed, average handling time, call abandonment rate, etc.
Many customers love self-service as it gives them a feel-good factor when they are able to solve a problem or issue by themselves. Even studies tell that almost three-quarters of customers think they should have the ability to solve their own product or service issues. So why not offer this facility by using an IVR in your business phone system. It saves a huge amount of money for the business as well. A win-win for both.
Do you know that “Over 70% of customers get ‘extremely frustrated’ while waiting on hold?” Abandoned calls are a real big problem for businesses. Usually, call abandonment happens when the caller is put on hold for too long which irritates them and results in the caller disconnecting the call. As per stats “One-quarter of customers hang up after five minutes.” It is a sheer example of poor customer service as the customer loses faith in the business.
An IVR fits as a perfect solution to this problem. As callers’ concerns are addressed with accurate and prompt replies, there are minimal chances of call abandonment. Rather, it can increase the chances of customers sticking with the brand. The good news is that “Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.”
One of the biggest conveniences is that IVRs perform their job round the clock i.e. 24/7 which otherwise requires agents with multiple shifts. So, when a customer calls outside the business hours, IVR can provide support through its pre-recorded set of messages which you can customize to let them know that you will get back soon.
Managing high call volumes increases the chances of long waiting times and misrouted calls as agents get strained. Considering the case of small-sized companies, usually one receptionist or customer representative addresses all customer calls. However, with an IVR’s automated call routing facility, there is a significant reduction in call routing mistakes as the system is predefined.
It is shocking to see that “20-30% of call volume is about previously unresolved issues.” Moreover, nearly 70% of customers are irritated when their call is transferred from department to department. IVR systems make use of accurate filtering and segmentation, which ensures that each customer call lands up in the right department and to the right agent. There is minimal waiting time without the customer being switched from one department to another, which is appreciable.
Conducting feedback surveys after every call through the Interactive Voice Response System is an effective way to capture customer satisfaction scores also known as CSAT scores. IVR systems can act as a rich data pool as they gather customer information such as interests, preferences, requirements, demographics, etc. Such data can bring incredible benefits as marketing managers can perform analyses to tweak their campaigns according to the choice of the customers. Also, such data can be used to bring more meaning to the training and reward programs organized by the business.
Small-sized companies generally do not have large call volumes and they might not need IVR for call handling. However, it doesn’t mean that IVRs are of no use to them. Customers are going to view your business’s image the way you portray it. Since IVR systems have prerecorded messages and even personalized greetings, it imparts a professional image of the business to the caller.
You can map different departments of your business with the IVR thus giving the impression of a big business which helps in establishing a better image of the company. Additionally, it sends the message that the business cares about its customers which can be a great attraction for them.
A lot of agents’ time gets wasted in listening to the caller’s requirements and transferring the call to the right department. Also, why let your employees answer simple questions like “Till what time are you open? How much gift credit is left in my wallet?” when all this work can be easily done by an Interactive Voice Response system. With this, agents obviously get time to focus on critical/urgent tasks which lead to improvement in their overall work efficiency.
A cloud-based Interactive Voice Response System eliminates the chances of downtime as there are redundant servers and backup equipment available with the service provider. So even if there’s a power outage or a natural disaster that shuts down the server, the IVR system stays up and running without minimal interruption. It might seem like a small thing but it has a big impact on your customers.
Another best thing about the Interactive Voice Response system is that it can do several significant tasks for your business without drilling a hole in your pocket. Yes, IVRs are a quite cost-effective solution when compared with other support and marketing tools such as live chat.
Primarily, there are 3 factors that you must pay attention to when setting up a hosted IVR on your Business Phone System:
While you may get several options to choose the best IVR service provider for your business, KloudTalk offers the most reliable and flexible IVR system including the below-mentioned benefits:
93% of customer service teams believe that customer expectations are higher than before. As a business, you cannot just fall behind. As an Interactive Voice Response system offer a lot of advantage, why not get one in place for your business. You can contact us at KloudTalk to get answers to your queries related to the hosted IVR system.
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