IVR Best Practices: Deliver Delightful Customer Experiences
By Harish Thyagarajan.13 Jul 2020 .
5 min read
The modern-day customers have high expectations for an efficient experience. Unfortunately, IVRs have earned a reputation for frustrating customers. One negative customer experience can ruin the hard work you have put into your business. Therefore, consider designing an IVR system with the customer in mind, and your business will experience many benefits.
Here are eight best practices you can implement to make your IVR system a go-to destination for customers:
1. Make it easy for customers to access agents
The most critical and fundamental best practice is to make it easy for the callers to connect with the support agents. Providing instant access to agents will not reduce IVR usage; instead, it will prevent customer dissatisfaction and help them resolve their queries faster.
2. Cut short your intros and option descriptions
It is an excellent practice to have a clear introduction at the beginning of the call to let your customers know that they have reached the right place. However, a lengthy introduction or one that incorporates purposeless information, such as informing the callers that the menu has changed, will only annoy them. Put yourself in the shoes of the caller, and you will understand that they are looking for the most efficient way to resolve a problem.
Similarly, forcing customers to wait through numerous self-service options, each with a lengthy description, will make them feel like the longest minute of their life. Keep the introduction and option descriptions short and help the callers address their problems.
3. Do not make callers repeat their issues
Forcing your customer to repeat themselves to a support agent after they have already navigated through the IVR can be frustrating. All of your organization’s service channels should be interconnected so that the customer can pick up from where they left off. Doing this provides a seamless experience and ensures that the data stored in your system is consistent across all channels.
4. Allow callers to choose their path with open-ended prompts
The menu-based system presents callers with a seemingly endless list of choices that are not always relevant. Using an IVR with natural language technology will provide open-ended prompts and allow the caller to choose a path and bypass additional menu options. The caller will have more flexibility and will be able to speak conversationally, creating a more efficient service experience. In case the natural language recognition technology cannot be implemented in your current business setup, limiting the main menu choices is an excellent place to start.
5. Encourage resolution in the IVR wherever possible
Provide solutions to some of the commonly asked questions within the automated system. Examples of the types of queries that self-service options can solve are checking the status of an order, finding store hours, or making bill payments. Organizations can use existing customer data and external prompts to automatically push relevant information to the customers within the IVR system.
Guiding customers with relevant information will help them solve specific problems faster. When a caller wants to speak to a support agent, the system should use the caller information to connect them with an available agent. For instance, if a customer calls to cancel their service, he should be immediately routed to a retention specialist who can either make efforts to retain the customer or carry out the procedure to cancel the service.
6. Predict customers’ needs using data
Consider integrating your IVR system with CRM records and web tracking data. The data will help you predict customer needs and provide resolutions within the self-service options. By giving customers a more dynamic self-service experience, you can mirror modern digital support that the customers are accustomed to.
7. Allow callers to interrupt prompts
Your customers’ time is precious, and they should have the option to bypass certain prompts to complete their requests more efficiently. Barge-ins are also crucial for in-line corrections, i.e., when a caller commits a mistake on response and quickly acts to rectify the answer.
8. Play useful on-hold messages
No caller likes being placed on hold for long, and if you play lengthy recordings at the top of the menu, the callers will get frustrated. Rather than repeatedly playing a generic message about their call being relevant to your company, update callers on their estimated wait time in the queue. This approach significantly lowers abandonment rates since callers know what to expect. If there is an extensive delay, the menu can invite customers to utilize self-service options within the IVR system.
A research conducted by Mckinsey shows that the one thing customers want more than anything else is a quick solution to their queries. If companies can assure that, then most customers do not mind which channel they use. There is a growing acceptance among customers that IVR technology can be the fastest way to resolve simple inquiries, such as locating a technician, checking the delivery status of a package, or troubleshooting cable TV connections.
The development of a customer-centric IVR is a process that takes time. However, it is a process that can generate massive value for your business if you adopt a systematic approach and direct your efforts on improving customer journeys. Consider designing your IVR the way customers want to access information, and you will increase the utilization of your IVR and keep your customers happy.
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