IVR Gets a Bad Rap

Sometimes ridiculed as both a maze and a labyrinth, interactive voice response (IVR) systems have been easy targets of cheap shots. Everybody has their own memory of a bad experience with an IVR that typically started with “Si usted habla español, oprima número uno” and ended three minutes later with this message: “To contact a customer service representative, please press 9. Current waiting time is approximately … 15 … minutes,” whereupon, you hang up in frustration.

The bad rap for IVR systems has been somewhat of a self-inflicted wound for businesses that have adopted poorly designed iterations with:

  • Frustratingly long menus. By the time the customer gets to the last choice, the first choice is a distant and forgotten memory.
  • Too much information up front. The IVR message has instructions on how to use its complicated menu system or hours of operation and doesn’t wait for the customer to ask.
  • Poor quality Voice Prompts. Voice prompts that sound unprofessional or are difficult to understand.

However, when IVR applications work, they work well. They are the virtual kiosks and stalwart vanguards for customer self-service in everything from banking services to online medicine prescriptions. The key to IVR success and customer acceptance is in its thoughtful design and how it promotes intuitive customer interaction with minimal referrals to your call center people.

If you have a well-designed IVR system between the caller and your call center, lots of other good things are happening:

  • The system is always on. Your customers get the instant gratification of being attended to without having to listen to telephonic elevator music. Customers would rather get a quick answer from an IVR system than wait ten minutes to speak to a live representative.
  • The system is well connected. The system is integrating with and using your existing customer data – both legacy and new – and leveraging your call records for future contacts, marketing and an unlimited array of customer resource management applications.
  • Your IVR system becomes an instant sales leveraging resource. A customer who calls in to check on your hours of operation quickly learns about special discounts for new credit card applicants.

If you’re looking for an IVR platform that will leverage your customer support into something that is greater than the sum of its parts, contact us. Download our white paper “How to Increase Your Sales with an IVR System.” We’ll show you a better way to launch your IVR technology into a no-cost profit generator.