We all have heard “Please wait, your call is important to us” enough number of times. These prompts are possible because an IVR has been installed in the call center you are calling. Your call is placed on the queue to talk to a customer service representative. IVR systems are an essential aspect of Inbound Call Centers. They are crucial to maintaining the professionalism and customer service standards of businesses.
With business deals made and customer complaints filed primarily through calls, telephones have become a prominent form of communication. Interactions have become a vital aspect of any business and having an interactive automated system that works well with customers without the irritation or bias of a human is something all businesses should consider.
These automated IVR systems are both single-level and multi-level. Which means the IVR can either be used only for greeting the caller and connecting them to a human or have different sections and subsections for the caller to select from using a DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency) input.
It’s safe to say that an inbound call center is incomplete without an IVR. The level of customer expectations and business needs mostly require an interactive system these days. One that can fulfill these needs and help the customers get what they want from a brand, thereby increasing customer retention and decreasing the customer churn levels. The customer is king in the world of business and keeping the customer happy is the secret to creating a loyal customer base for your business.
An IVR also reduces costs, which is something crucial to every business. Lowering costs and being available 24×7 while increasing productivity is the most important USP of IVR. A small business wishing to thrive and make a name but not having the resources or the funding to do so can largely benefit from an IVR system. However, an IVR is also suitable for enterprises that have a high call volume and want to maintain their standards of customer service and retain their customers.
So, an IVR fits all and benefits all. It can be called a preferred solution for communication requirements of a call center. An IVR, along with an inbound call center software, can handle all your incoming calls and make you the star of customer service.
Table of Contents
What is an IVR?
IVR is both, a self-service tool and a telephony feature that helps segregate and navigate callers to their desired location. An IVR system takes DTMF or Dual Tone Multi-Frequency inputs by the press of a button on the keypad or by voice command and drives the caller to the submenu selected.
IVR acts like the receptionist a small business cannot afford. Alternatively, it also acts as a friendly robot that enterprises or big organizations hire to segregate their calls and help callers reach their desired destination. IVR helps in increasing customer satisfaction and simplifying the customer interaction process.
How Does an IVR Work?
An IVR works by creating menus and submenus for customers. Essentially, a company puts all the crucial and most asked information in their IVRs. Businesses also try to put in the dynamic fields such as account balance of a customer, validity, date of renewal, and more. All this information comes under the most asked section for that business.
A caller usually makes a call and is connected to the welcome message of the business. The customer then can get a menu of options to choose from depending upon his/her requirement.
These menus might contain submenus and so on. Ideally, it is preferred that a business places the “talk to a representative” option before the third menu because otherwise the customers get annoyed and call for lousy customer service.
When there is an overload of calls, or no free representatives are present, an IVR places the customer on the waiting queue. Now, this queue can be both, based on the time a customer called or the priority that customer holds for your business. An IVR can also give the option to request a call back in cases where the customer does not want to wait.
The figure above shows a standard IVR in action and gives us a little insight into how an IVR works. Now that we have seen all about IVRs, let’s try and understand the benefits of an IVR system in your call center.
How Does an IVR Help your Inbound Call Center?
An IVR system helps an Inbound Call Center a lot. It is so mainly because it has certain functionalities that allow the call center to be more accessible and manageable by both the employees and customers. An IVR is like the benefit factory of an inbound call center, it is available in multiple languages, which makes it easier for customers to understand and interpret. An IVR also increases the FCR or the First Call Resolution rate by routing the callers in the right direction.
An IVR is also a good option if a business needs to conduct surveys and increase their customer satisfaction score. Surveys are easy to conduct with these services as no humans are required and the users have to input their answers by either the press of a button (DTMF input) or by replying a number or a yes/no to the question prompt.
Let’s see the different ways in which an IVR can help an Inbound Call Center:
Compose personalized IVR messages and Menus
IVR enables you to create personalized welcome greetings and prompts for the introduction when a caller calls your business. It is also possible to play specific personalized information and offers to the callers when they are waiting to connect to a customer service agent. Your business might have some other general and festive offers which can be played for callers during longer wait times or to keep the customer engaged.
Use TTS/Human Voice for Ease
With an IVR system, you can use both text-to-speech or a human voice (for recording responses/messages) depending upon your business. A text-to-speech gives a professional vibe, whereas a human voice gives a warmer and more affectionate vibe. Both these can be pre-recorded and used dynamically in different instances.
Bringing Automation in Customer Support
An IVR system opens the door of self-service for the callers. Since each information that a caller needs do not require their speaking with a human agent. IVR comes in handy when the customers need certain necessary information and when their issue can is solvable with merely an automated response.
An automated system also comes in handy as it can function 24×7 without any frustration or irritation. This particular feature helps the business as the IVR is always available and has no human bias or irritation at any time.
Give Priority to High-Value Customers
IVR lets your select customers be on top of the waiting line and connect them to the most competent agent. It also ensures that your high priority customers have a minimum waiting time. Which, in turn, ensures that your customers do not leave your brand because of mediocre customer service.
Manage High Call Volumes Like A Pro
There are some days and some months that have a high inflow of calls. Either because it’s an on-season for the product/service or because your product is kicking off in the market. Either way, an IVR helps you handle all the calls without losing or irritating any customers. IVRs keep customers on hold, give them an option to request a call-back or leave a message, saving their time and energy.
These are merely basic and mainstream functionalities that an IVR brings to an Inbound Call Center. IVRs are an essential tool when it comes to excelling customer service or creating a brand name in the market. IVR is like your one-stop destination for portraying professionalism and making your customers brag about your brand.
So, don’t let your customers feel alienated or helpless because they can’t reach an agent. Contact an IVR service provider and help them reach their desired destination.
Niharika Gupta is a technical writer at CallCenterHosting, a leading provider of Cloud Call Center Solutions. She loves music and reading and has always been fascinated with technology. Writing about technology and other related topics gives her the utmost happiness. She believes words have the power to change the world and is working on turning her ideas into words every day.