Is Your IVR as Good as It Gets?

FIRST PRINCIPLE

When IVR works well, customers love it—and often prefer it. When it doesn’t, they hate it. And far too often, it doesn’t work well.

I know: tell you something you don’t know.

To work well, your IVR system has to be smart.

Smart IVR solutions never make you repeat information your customers have already entered. They transfer their calls to the right place. They know about your customer; for instance, if there are no outstanding orders, they don’t present the option to check order status. They work perfectly with all your other technologies—CRM, warehouse database and so on—so that they always provide correct and current information. And when they do transfer a call to a live agent, customers don’t have to go through the whole “who are you” process all over again.

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION

Your IVR gets smart when you integrate it with the rest of your technologies: contact center technologies (including CTI); call distribution technologies (such as ACD); and customer-facing systems (such as CRM). That’s how you’ll be able to request and present the right information to your customers without involving a live agent.

OMNICHANNEL

Once integrated, your IVR solution becomes part of your omnichannel—a central part of it, in fact. Customers will use your IVR system to check on order status, track shipping, manage order cancellation and returns, and more. That means that more and more of the calls you get can successfully be handled by your IVR instead of your live agents.

NEW PLATFORMS

Even the most robust omnichannel is cheaper, more reliable, and less complex when you move it to Cloud and Service platforms. That will let you ramp up and draw down your phone lines as you need to. It will put highest quality performance and services in your hands at a fraction of the traditional cost. And it’s going to give you an almost effortless way to continually add new features without disruption or operational costs.

SMART FEATURES

There are a lot of those new features. In fact, they’re already in place in the best systems. Advanced grammars make it easier for customers to speak normally. IVRs speak a lot of languages today and they’ll speak more tomorrow. There is Visual IVR, which lets customers call from a smartphone and see a live version of the voice menu on their phone display. And combined with voice biometrics, Smart IVR systems authenticate customers without a PIN.

FOCUSED AGENTS

With that kind of tight authentication, performance and integration, your live agents will become more productive. They can turn their attention to solving complex and critical customer issues instead of routine ones. It also opens the door to increased use of virtual agents. All of this lowers your cost of operation.

Smart IVR isn’t an emerging trend. If I can borrow a phrase from the lawyers, nothing I’ve said here is a “forward looking statement.” Smart IVR systems are available right now to help you decrease costs and increase customer satisfaction.