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Creating a Modern IVR to Enhance Customer Experience

Creating a Modern IVR to Enhance Customer Experience
. 10 min read

What is an IVR?

For a customer, an IVR is a common phone menu. More technically, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system allows a caller to connect with the back-end telephony system of businesses by clicking on keys that emit DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency) tones or directly speaking, that is processed by a speech recognition system. 

Traditionally, IVR systems have been used as a business optimization tool, but with modern IVRs, businesses can do so much more. From furthering a sales process to gathering instant customer feedback and enhancing customer engagement, you can now make important customer connections, all while reducing costs. 

When implemented correctly, IVR systems allow callers to resolve quick customer service queries by themselves, without even speaking to an agent. In fact, 50% of customers want to solve product issues themselves rather than having to rely on customer service. This makes IVR the perfect solution for businesses, as it delivers exactly what customers want and increases call center efficiency, making the work of agents easier. 

IVRs offer a plethora of opportunities to make customer relations stronger. Here’s how you can use this technology to your advantage:

Appointment reminders

You can use IVR technology to send your customers a reminder before a previously scheduled call. All you have to do is ask them for their phone numbers when scheduling the calls or when they request the calls in the first place. In a similar way, you can send customers automated messages for reminders of restaurant reservations, doctor appointments and more (Fact: missed appointments can cost a doctor more than $150,000 a year). IVRs considerably reduce no shows and create huge savings for your business. Furthermore, the added convenience of being reminded before an appointment will also enhance customer satisfaction.


Surveys are a great way to get immediate feedback and make informed business decisions based on the data collected. By limiting your IVR enabled surveys to a few important questions, with the most significant ones positioned earlier you can adjust for customer drop-offs. With IVR you can also capture the voice of the customer, allowing to further analyze their tone and mood. This is an ideal method to collect real-time feedback so your business can understand customer needs and make each customer interaction better for them.

Routing Call to SMS

Calls are time-consuming for your agents, but more for your customers who have a simple query and have been waiting in a call queue for the last 15 minutes. 56% of your customers would rather message businesses than call them. You can use your IVR to suggest that the conversation can be moved over to an SMS. This will allow you to resolve that query instantly with automated, context-driven text messages. Instead of keeping customers waiting on-call or transferring calls to agents, you can effectively reduce call handling time and increase customer satisfaction simultaneously, just by changing the channel of communication.

AI-Driven IVR

Here’s a scenario: You own a popular cafe in the heart of a busy city, and mornings and early evenings are your busiest times. Your customer is running late for work. As they leave the house, they think about the number of meetings they have scheduled for the day and know they’ll need your coffee to get them through that. AI-driven IVR would allow your cafe to use bots to take the order, display the order to your employee and send your customer an SMS as soon as the coffee is ready.  You’d have just provided your customers with the convenience of placing an order of their favorite coffee without adding the hassle of interacting with yet another person to their already-taxing day.

With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) businesses can interact with a large volume of customers without sacrificing the quality of the communications. According to Gartner, customers will manage 85% of their conversations with businesses without any human interactions by 2020. With an AI-driven IVR, you can respond to queries using APIs. Several companies are already leveraging language-understanding and sentiment analytics to generate automated assistance that will help customers get the right information in real-time.

Visual IVR

With visual IVR you can transform your traditional IVRs into a digital experience. This takes the burden off your agents by increasing self-service by over 10%, allowing them to focus on customer queries that need to be solved over a phone call. Visual IVRs also allow customers to transition from the digital channel to the agent with full context, resulting in significantly reduced handle times. With the increased use of smartphones, visual IVRs seem like an ideal way to interact with customers on the go. According to a customer satisfaction survey done by CustomerThermometer, 55% of customers are more willing to use visual IVR. Customers would be able to touch their way through a menu interface rather than listening to all the options. 

It is important that businesses align their IVR strategy with the rest of their customer service options to create a more comprehensive, offer end-to-end support and provide an omnichannel experience for customers. While it is impractical to update all technology at once, businesses can make a rough plan of their IVR and overall communication goals to plan better for the future and incorporate these changes, on step at a time, to enhance their customer experience. 

Curious about visual IVRs? Watch this space for our next blog, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to get notified when it’s up!

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