Setting up the right systems for your contact center has important implications for the future efficiency and output of your business. There are many technologies available to optimize the work of live agents, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately, scale your business.
One technology, Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR), has been available to businesses for several decades. Over time, IVR has become cheaper to implement, easier to use, with many new features and capabilities like AI integrations and natural language processing. Today, businesses use IVR to identify and segment callers and provide a self-service tool for high-volume call centers.
What is IVR?
IVR is a technology that allows customers to interact via phone keypad or speech recognition. IVR automates the first interaction between customer and contact center and is a self-service tool that can create a higher level of efficiency for contact centers and improve customer satisfaction.
IVR can be used to gather information from customers prior to routing them to human agents, or it can guide customers through automated messages to get answers to their questions without taxing the contact center.
The benefits of utilizing IVR are many, including lower human cost, better customer service, and the ability to better prioritize calls.
If you’ve made the decision to incorporate IVR into your contact center model, how do you determine the right IVR for your business?
What should you consider in your IVR search?
On-prem vs. cloud-based technology
When you are considering an IVR system, one of the first choices you should make is whether you want on-premise technology or cloud-based technology, or a combination of the two if you’re looking to speed up to digital transformation but can’t scrap what you’ve already invested in.
If you find yourself in the latter position, for cost-saving results, we recommend bridging to the cloud. If you’re ready to go all-in, cloud-based IVR software is a more flexible way to manage your systems. When you move to the cloud, you have the same capabilities, but without many of the upfront and maintenance costs. You no longer have to maintain your servers, or have additional space to house those servers, and your business can remain remote or scale to more locations. By running your contact center in the cloud, you will have access to the latest updates and capabilities. With cloud-based software, you are able to integrate with your existing channels easily, while optimizing your ability to scale quickly.
Your IVR technology should be stable and reliable. Callers need to trust that, not only will the service be available, but also that it will work as intended. Understand system uptime and what the system providers can guarantee. If you choose cloud-based technology, ensure you are provided ongoing 24/7 support and monitoring.
As you build out your IVR, you want to have flexibility to design the customer journey to fit with your business. Do you need more automation or more programmed responses? Do you need the IVR to integrate into an existing ACD to help route calls to the most relevant live agents?
Select an IVR that can be flexible to changes in your business. If you grow or change strategic direction, your IVR needs to adapt with you.
You should also consider an IVR system that can integrate with your existing technologies. If you have an existing CRM, IVR should be able to utilize your existing information to create a seamless and smart experience. With the right integration, live agents will have the correct information when they are connected to the caller.
Ease of use
You want your IVR to be easy to create, update, and use.
Look for an IVR that can be simple to design, but maintains the highest standards of usability for both agents and customers.
Your business likely goes through changes frequently, whether it’s product updates or service changes. You’ll want an IVR system that is easy to adjust to reflect the latest from your company.
As a customer goes through the IVR journey, they should feel comfortable with the process. The more satisfied they are with the IVR experience, the more likely they’ll be to go through an automated process again. Consider asking some of your agents to try out the journey you’ve created to verify ease of use.