When Creating a Better IVR Experience Has Become a Simple Process, Why Do Some Businesses Continue to Frustrate their Customers?
IVRs (Interactive Voice Response) is a ubiquitous and often
misunderstood contact center technology that provides many undeniable benefits.
First and foremost, it eliminates the need for a switchboard operator to answer
incoming calls, presenting callers with a menu of options to choose from,
attempting to answer frequently asked questions, routing calls and in many
cases, helping to deflect call volume from overburdened agents. Beyond the
obvious advantages of time saving and 24/7 availability for customers, it
enables functions such as providing bank and stock account balances and
transfers, selective information lookup, simple order entry transactions, and
IVR systems are mainly comprised of telephony equipment,
software applications, and a database along with supporting infrastructure. A
business can either run its IVRs in house by purchasing the necessary software
and hardware or choose to contract with an IVR hosting service that charges an
Over the years, the IVR has become one of the most widely
used products in contact centers, with a recent Call
Centre Helper survey finding that usage is growing year-on-year, with
86.1% of contact centers installing such a system.
Of course, it’s far from all champagne and roses. For many
consumers, IVRs are the technology they love to hate. Just about everyone has
at one time or another been caught up in the maelstrom of a poorly programmed
system that just takes them in a never-ending circle with no hope of resolving
the issue they called in about. Comedians have had a field day lampooning the “Please
listen carefully because our menus have changed” drone that callers encounter
before often being overwhelmed with a laundry list of confusing options. IVR
systems have been criticized for being an impersonal, impenetrable barrier
between customers and live agents, whose jobs they have been accused of putting
Contributing to this disconnect is the fact a significant
percentage of contact centers that implemented the technology a while back
simply hasn’t made enough… or even any… changes to improve it. In fact, another
Call Centre Helper poll
found that 10% of organizations had never reviewed or updated their IVR
systems, with another 10% saying they didn’t know the last time they had done
so and another 14% revealing it had been more than a year.
Call routing through IVRs has evolved dramatically since the
early days of basic menus and limited capabilities. Most companies have long
since implemented advanced IVR systems that incorporate speech recognition
software which enables customers to communicate more effectively by verbally
expressing their requests instead of punching in numbers. When first
introduced, such systems were a double-edged sword: callers became frustrated
and angry at voice recognition systems that didn’t recognize their questions.
Constant improvements in conversational AI and better voice recognition driven
by natural language processing have made updated IVRs a far more valuable tool.
In addition, language generation applications now provide the capability for
the IVR to deliver more conversational responses.
All the elements are in place to offer an enhanced IVR
experience that drives improved customer journeys. Yet, many companies are
still in the dark about how to use IVRs to increase efficiency and deliver
better business results. On October 24, CrmXchange is offering a complimentary webcast
entitled “When Customers Call, Will Your IVR Be Ready?” presented by cloud
communications specialist Plum Voice. Nogol Tardugno, VP of Customer
Success for Plum Voice, will demonstrate specific steps to be taken to reduce
customer frustration by deploying an optimized IVR. Among the topics to be
How to easily create IVR voice applications with no need for
How to use permission structures that facilitate
collaboration across technical and non-technical staff so that every member of
the team can contribute to delivering an improved customer experience
How to put data to work to gain a better understanding of
how end-users interact with the company’s voice application enabling it to
continuously identify areas for improvement
How to effectively collect customer feedback and link it to
specific customer-agent interactions
for this enlightening demo session: those unable to attend live can download
the webcast approximately 24 hours after it is completed.