Let’s face it — most IVR systems simply don’t deliver a good customer experience. In fact, 61% of customers feel IVR delivers a poor customer experience. Today’s customers are incredibly sensitive to profit-over-people behavior. Over half of customers say they’ve abandoned a business because of a poor experience with an IVR system. And customer abandonment costs businesses $252 per customer, each year.
However, it is possible to design your IVR so that you maximize the benefits of modern technology, while delivering a customer experience that helps your clients retain customers. The benefits of a well-designed IVR system have been well established. An IVR can reduce the strain on customer service resources, empowering customers to self-serve without the need to speak to an agent.
There are several features and capabilities worth considering to ensure that your IVR meets regulatory standards, enhances customer experiences and delivers maximum return on investment.
There are many customer service functions—taking payments, checking account balances, adding users to an account, etc.—that can be handled by your IVR alone. So make sure that your IVR can handle the simple customer service tasks efficiently.
Also, integrating AI or a bot into your IVR can make it much easier for customers to accomplish self-serve tasks.
Intelligent call routing
Your IVR should route callers to the correct customer service representative automatically, if possible. Obviously, this won’t be possible if the customer immediately bypasses the IVR. But, if the customer enters information that helps route the call, your IVR should analyze that input and route the call to the best person.
That way customers can get help without much effort. And less effort always means better customer experience.
Secondary language support
Most businesses have more than one language in their customer base. So offering multilingual support makes your IVR accessible to more customers. And, in some places, secondary language support is mandated by law.
Text-to-speech (or TTS), is a form of speech synthesis that converts text into spoken voice output. First, it’s an accessibility feature for customers with disabilities which makes automated customer service systems usable. However, even customers who don’t need text-to-speech for accessibility often prefer text-to-speech options so that it’s easier to interact with your IVR on the go.
Text-to-speech is mandatory for delivering certain IVR capabilities, like self-service features. Your IVR must be able to recite account numbers, account balances, and other information from text to deliver full functionality.
Natural language processing
Natural language processing is critical because it enables your customers to interact naturally with your IVR system. Rather than being restricted to very specific inputs, like a touchtone menu on a phone, customers can simply speak to your AI, and it will understand them.
Natural language processing (NLP) is mandatory for achieving the conversational tone that makes an IVR pleasant to interact with. Rather than being restricted to very specific inputs, like a touchtone menu on a phone, customers can simply say what they need. A more organic conversational flow makes it easier for customers to communicate with your IVR because it feels more like talking to a real human.
An IVR can’t deliver a complete omnichannel experience on its own. However, it’s important that your IVR can pull information from other customer communication channels—website chat, social media chatbots, etc.—to provide a more seamless experience as customers transition from channel to channel.
That way it doesn’t feel like starting from zero when they get on the phone with your IVR.
Most businesses like to have call recording for quality control and training (as it says in the ‘call recording’ message). But it might be a compliance standard for your clients, depending on where they’re based. And recorded calls can be helpful for settling disputes. So call recording is a must-have feature for any IVR.
To find out more about best practices for a smart IVR and common implementation mistakes to avoid, download the eBook: How to Build a Smart IVR That Customers Actually Enjoy Using.
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