IVR systems have become an integral part of modern customer support. Companies use these systems to improve external communication with their customers. But what exactly is an IVR system, how does it work and what are its benefits for your business?
An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) refers to an automated telephone system that engages customers and allows them to access information without a live operator. The system uses a combination of pre-recorded messages (text-to-speech technology) and a dual-tone multi-frequency (DMTF) interface to interact with callers.
IVR systems have become an effective solution to long wait times as it integrates computer and telephony technologies to minimise the need for a live agent. When the system can't answer all the queries the caller is asking, it routes their calls to the next available operator, which effectively enhances their experience and improves customer satisfaction. Here is additional information regardingIVR meaningand its benefits for your business.
The majority of modern IVR systems utilise a special programming language known as Voice Extensible Markup Language (VXML). Such an IVR system consists of these components:
- TCP/IP - A network that's used to provide internet and intranet connectivity in our offices
- A database - To provide real-time information for the IVR system.
- Web server - This is where the IVR software lives. The server can host several applications, including one for outgoing calls, one for customer service and one for voice-to-text transcription
IVR systems minimise the need for an operator. Provided the system is well-designed and effective, it can perform its task without the intervention of an agent. Callers can access self-serving options through the system, and only when these fail is an operator required.
With their automation capabilities, IVR systems can save businesses on the costs of hiring a large in-house customer service team. All you will need is a small team that focuses on interacting with high-profile customers or answering a few calls that IVR systems can't handle.
When customers call your business, they often need answers as quickly as possible. As a result, your in-house customer service team will constantly be on the phone, trying to resolve several issues simultaneously. That can sometimes be overwhelming for your team, especially if there are many callers with relatively complicated needs.
An IVR system can help offset some of the pressure on your team. It can interact with the callers, identify what they need and answer their questions or transfer their queries to the right department. Besides helping relieve the pressure, these IVR systems ensure your customers receive the support they need without wasting time.
With IVR systems, customers don't have to spend hours trying to reach your customer support team. When they place a call, the system immediately initiates support, providing self-support options or routing their calls to an available agent.
In addition to that, you can customise top-quality IVR systems to suit the company's specific preferences. For instance, you can generate custom greetings and prompts that are easy to understand and navigate to improve the caller's experience.
When customers find it easy to navigate through the prompts and get the help they need within a short time, they will only appreciate your brand's effort towards enhancing their experience.
The customer is the most important part of any business. After all, they are the ones that walk through the doors to bring revenue to your business. As a result, ensuring their satisfaction can be the key to ensuring your business thrives in the competitive market. One of the best ways to satisfy your customers is by providing round-the-clock customer support.
With an IVR system, you can guarantee your customers 24/7 customer support. Being an automated system, it can respond to customers 24/7, even during off or after hours. It doesn't need rest or sick leaves as an agent would. If the customer needs to speak to an agent, the system will route their call to an office in a different time zone. That guarantees support to a customer any day, any time.
An IVR system can handle tons of calls a single day without tiring. Additionally, it ensures each customer gets the support they need whenever needed. As such, using an IVR system to facilitate order placement can significantly improve sales.
The system also has a greater inbound call capacity and allows clients a relatively quick way to place their orders. Since it is automated, it is more productive and can finalise orders faster than a regular human could do. By enhancing productivity, IVR systems can also significantly improve revenue flow.
An IVR system is only as effective as its ability to interact with customers and resolve their issues. Here are some of the top ways to create a great IVR experience for your customers:
When you invest in an IVR system, it can sometimes be tempting to make it multi-level to accommodate more self-service options. Although this approach can significantly minimise the number of incoming calls, it can also affect the quality of support you offer callers.
If a caller has to wait for ages or struggles to reach the department they desire, your IVR system can quickly become ineffective. So, it is important to ensure the system has a few menu options that are easy to understand.
An IVR system needs to be able to handle a task as a human agent would. As such, it would only make sense to make it sound as realistic as possible. If a customer places a call and they get a response from a system with a robotic sound, they will already develop a negative attitude and might not expect to get the help they need.
It is quite unfortunate that most callers feel that IVR systems would never replace agents. So, coming across a system that sounds unnatural might cement these thoughts, ruining the chances of a smooth customer experience.
IVR systems can help automate business communications by providing services such as call routing, recording and analytics. However, these systems are only as good as their effectiveness in responding to caller's queries and prompts. So, it is essential to learn and implement basic IVR best practices, such as including a few options that are easy to understand, using a realistic-sounding voice and offering both keypad and spoken options.