How IVR Systems Can Enhance Your Contact Center Customer Service

Automation helps businesses deliver richer customer experiences, and one of the best ways to achieve automation in a contact center is to deploy an interactive voice response (IVR) system. 

We’re all familiar with that voice telling us to “press 0 for representative” — a voice menu system that uses speech recognition or Touch-Tone input to route callers to an appropriate agent. The concept is simple, but your company’s IVR system can be as sophisticated as you’d like, with customized greetings, messages, and prompts, so that when customers call you, they get a very personalized experience. 

By leveraging IVR, your business can route callers to the most appropriate department or the agent most qualified to meet their needs, reducing costs and improving productivity. Among its many advantages, IVR can provide increased operational efficiency, stronger brand image, and better customer insights.

Increased operational efficiency

Maximizing efficiency is essential in today’s competitive business environment. It’s not cost-effective to have agents handle every customer phone call. You shouldn’t need to pay employees to answer simple questions like “How late are you open?” or “What’s my account balance?” IVR provides an automated say to handle these simple questions, and lets you send callers to agents for more complicated interactions. 

IVR also increases first contact resolution rates, because a good IVR system can direct callers to the department or even the specific agent who’s most capable of meeting their needs. It can lower the likelihood of having to transfer callers between agents, increasing customer service efficiency. 

Stronger brand image

Like your logo or website design, the voice, music, scripts, and tone you choose for your IVR system convey your brand and business personality. Aligning your IVR menus to be consistent with your other brand elements builds a more powerful image for your customers. And well-configured call flows are a strong indication of your commitment to the best customer experience.

Speaking of brand image, you can add marketing messages to your IVR system for customers to listen to. Customers on hold are in a perfect position to absorb your marketing messages.

Better customer insights

You can deliver the best customer experience only if you understand how your customers interact with you. Marketers can leverage IVR systems to learn more about their customers through polls and surveys. IVR systems let marketers gather customer likes, interests, and demographics. With such rich customer data, businesses can conduct post-campaign analysis to determine which demographics responded most favorably, and adjust future messaging accordingly.

Tips for better IVR menus

Want to improve the effectiveness of your IVR systems? Follow these best practices:

  • Keep your script short and sweet. Keep menu options minimal and make it easy for callers to resolve issues themselves, or speak to an agent who can.
  • Offer a direct route to a supervisor where needed.
  • Integrate the IVR system with your CRM system — this lets you personalize the interaction and prioritize high-value callers.
  • Offer the option of a call-back when the call queue is long.
  • Offer both speech recognition and Touch-Tone as options for callers.

Build an IVR system with Plivo

Plivo’s Voice API puts you in control of your IVR system so you can create exceptional customer experiences while reducing operational costs. We provide your developers with the ability to easily integrate automatic speech recognition (ASR), so you can respond to customers however and whenever they want to connect with you.

Setting up an IVR phone tree with Plivo is simple. Configure one of your Plivo numbers to send a request to your web application when you receive a call. Your application should respond to the request with a top-level menu. Plivo plays the menu options and gathers input from the caller. When the caller makes a selection, Plivo uses the logic you’ve defined to route the call to the appropriate agent or the front desk. Phone numbers can be hard coded or read from a database, and endpoints can be hard or soft phones. To get a full breakdown of how it works, check out our product documentation

IVR systems can not only enhance customer experience, but also improve agent success while reducing operational costs. To maximize the benefits of interactive voice response, choose a solution like Plivo to help you capture and leverage customer information to deliver a seamless, personalized experience.

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