Ken Reid of Rostrvm Solutions puts forward a simple, six-step process to assessing the performance of your interactive voice response (IVR) system.
Your IVR system is often one of the first experiences someone has of your contact centre. As it has the potential to impact the image of your business, it needs regular review.
As time moves on, a once great IVR system to manage inbound communications may have become a bit clunky. We’ve all had that bad experience as consumers, where hanging up is preferable to enduring the pain being inflicted!
In a recent report, Salesforce found that 84% of 8,000 consumers and business buyers surveyed worldwide viewed the experience a company provides as ‘being as important as its products and services’.
So, while IVR telephony continues to be an important function for contact centres, is your system providing the service customers expect?
With this in mind, let’s consider the following six-step process for reviewing and refreshing your IVR system.
Step 1: Consider whether your IVR is simple, succinct and appropriate for everyone
As business and customer needs change, it is time to consider a number of key questions, including:
- Have you updated your system?
- Are menu options relevant?
- Is it easy to repeat the menu choices?
- Have you ensured you offer a direct route to a human advisor as a top option?
If you’re lucky enough to have a modern IVR you should also be able to change your messages easily and track where customers are abandoning.
Step 2: Ensure you conduct thorough research
Gain feedback about your IVR telephony from Customer Satisfaction surveys, research into abandonment rates, etc.
You could also use your IVR itself to ask customers for their feedback, or you could put yourself in your clients’ shoes too, by trying your system at regular intervals.
If you do this, invite a variety of people to take part, then use your findings to make a list of issues that need addressing.
Step 3: Think about whether you are taking advantage of Queueback and Callback?
While standard IVR can provide messages, keep callers informed of likely wait times and their position in the queue, have you taken advantage of Queueback and Callback options?
Queueback allows a caller to hang up but maintain their position in the queue. CallBack gives them the option to leave details and receive a callback at a later convenient time.
Step 4: Integrate the IVR with your CRM to personalize services
The IVR message might address a caller by their name, or the system could route them automatically, based on data about that person, using intelligent contact routing.
By doing this, you could also prioritize who gets answered first at peak times, which is great if you have a set of VIP customers.
Step 5: Consider whether your IVR telephony makes it easy for callers to self-serve
This service could be made available to remove some of the workload from advisors.
Also, it can improve customer support even when the contact centre is closed, as long as the type of self-service won’t require human assistance.
For example, a customer might choose to receive a text with a link to FAQs, or pay a straightforward bill, check a balance etc. It has to be done correctly, though, with simple, clear information.
Step 6: Measure and manage your IVR system performance
Ensure that the IVR is fully integrated with an omnichannel contact centre performance management information system, to make it easy to record and measure outcomes going forward.
It is essential that you don’t just leave the IVR to itself and that you consistently assess its performance, as it is the first interface that the customer encounters and therefore gives the first impression to the customer.