What is your interpretation when we say the term IVR in the telephony industry? Not sure?
Then, let’s try to figure out what IVR means?
Well, IVR stands for “Interactive Voice Response”. To understand this in more detail Interactive Voice Response is a system that is used for identification and segmentation purposes in a call center.
It also enables the call center software to route the caller to the most appropriate agent.
An IVR system is always integrated with CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) and ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) technologies to allow interaction between the Computer-Telephone and for proper call routing.
Since now, we have got a slight idea about what IVR is, lets us look into its importance in today’s call center environment.
IVR plays a significant role in the best call center software as it helps a call center in providing an efficient and uninterrupted calling process.
If you are running a call center and your primary motive is your customer’s delight with the services offered,then it becomes extremely essential for you to handle the high call volume on daily basis in an effective manner.
For which you need to have various software equipped with the latest technologies that can help you in a seamless management of customer’s calls consistently.
And that can be easily achieved with the help of IVR. Not just that it can also play a crucial part in the growth of your business.
So, to have a better perspective about the features of an IVR system, I am listing some of the functionalities of an IVR system below:
1. Creation of personalized messages for IVR:
IVR provides a contact center with an option of creating personalized options or messages for your customers. By using this feature of an IVR system a call center can add a personal touch in their service which helps them in giving personalized service experience to their customers.
Using this characteristic can help a call center in making a strong bond with their callers in no time.
2. Using pre-recorded or default messages in IVR:
The main objective of a call center is to provide their customers with an exceptional service experience. And believe it or not one of the major constituent of a remarkable experience is professionalism.
Because of this reason a lot of contact centers prefer not to use the customized messages. Instead, they can use the default IVR messages along with their call center solutions which ensures professional service every time.
3. Information collection:
The most common problem faced by the call center agents which is also very frustrating for a caller is multiple call transfers. Thus, it is very important for a contact center to try and minimize the number of transfers as much as possible. And this problem can be eliminated with IVR.
And IVR system records and collects customer’s information and preference when the customer is interacting with the system. This ensures that the customer is routed to the most suitable agent based on the input provided to the IVR.
This method can be used for fast and correct call transfers adding to the customer satisfaction.
4. Allows automation of customer support:
Apart from the routing of calls to the most suitable channel, IVR can also be used for automation support in a contact center.
With the help of customized message feature, a call center can provide solutions to the common problems. This will allow customers to get answers to their queries without even talking with an agent.
It can also be a contributor in reducing the call volume of a contact center.
5. Call prioritization:
It is an unstated fact that a high-profile customer is very important for a business as it can greatly affect the reputation and productivity of the business.
So, to make it certain that a contact center is never losing a high-profile customer is it essential to provide them with fast and quality service.
Using the call priority option of an IVR system, an incoming call from a high-profile customer can be routed directly to the most suitable agent.
And in case all the agents are busy, then the system can automatically re-route their calls to the waiting queue giving them the top priority, so they do not have to wait in queue for a long time.
6. Call routing:
As an IVR system is always incorporated with an ACD system. so, it is guaranteed that the call is routed to the most suitable agent every time making sure customers always experience a good quality of service.
7. Prosper in high call volume:
As IVR makes call routing easier for a call center, it allows them to perform effectively and showcase their best performance when dealing with high-call volume.
With correct routing, the resolution time is fast and wait time is low which adds on to an exceptional service level.
8. Helps in building a good image for your contact center:
Along with providing a great service experience, IVR can also play a role in building a good image for your contact center, especially for the SMEs.
By using IVR the SMEs can give an impression of being a larger contact center than they actually are. Also with less staff using IVR for support automation can help them in fulfilling their customer’s needs without requiring an agent.
Benefits of IVR:
Since now we have seen different features of an IVR. It’s time to understand how these features can benefit a call center. Some of the main advantages are as follows:
1. Increased service quality:
As an agent gets the call based on their skills and specialization it directly reflects in its performance.
The agent will be able to resolve issues quickly and effectively when he/she has more knowledge about the subject thus increasing the service quality.
2. Increase company efficiency:
An agent working in a contact center using the IVR will be more competent when handling issues matching their skills. Thus reducing the number of escalations or call transfers to the other agents can add to company’s efficiency.
3. Increased customer satisfaction:
The IVR systems reduce call volume, increases availability and agent’s performance. All these characteristics result in improved CSAT.
4. More professionalism in service:
As a customer service representative, an agent needs to be very professional while interacting with a customer. But not all agents have the same level of professionalism so the level of service changes based on the way they interact with a customer.
But with IVR the call center management can make sure that every caller gets the same quality of service in the first contact. As the first contact can build an impression of service, they are going to have through the overall business transaction. And so it is very important to have a good and professional experience in the first contact.
5. Reduced operating cost:
One of the ways in which a call center can make more profit and improve their ROI is by reducing their operating cost.
However, some of the things like investment in agents training and hiring are very critical to maintain a good quality of service and thus cannot be compromised.
Other less important things like hardware, storage devices, need of additional staffs are something which a contact center can fine-tune to reduce the operating cost.
An IVR system completely replaces the traditional technique of having a receptionist to transfer calls and at the same time provide more benefits.
It is multipurpose, error-free, more quick and effective way of handling calls and can be used to reduce the operating cost.
It can also help in getting the customer’s feedback without requiring any additional work or software.
So, from all these above points we can easily make out why IVR is one of the most used and in demand technology, especially in the customer service.
But for this idea of having an IVR system in your call center will become even more adaptive, if we can see a real-life situation and see how IVR played a vital role in controlling the situation through this case study.
Today we will look at a Product based Company namely AMC Private limited dealing majorly with sales and after sales service of Laptops, Computers and Mobile phones. The company was founded in 2008 and is having offices in India as well as overseas countries.
The Company was using the latest call center software solutions and was facing a challenge in handling the incoming call flow in an effective way and needs to deal with the issues like:
1. Round the clock availability:
2. Less staff causing them difficulties in handling the calls.
3. High wait time in the queue.
4. All these above points were causing low customer satisfaction.
As the issues faced by the company was creating major problems for them, the call center needed an immediate solution.
So they started their research for a solution to these problems and thought about implementing an IVR system in their call management software with their other business process.
After implementing the IVR systems they observed the following changes in their performance:
1. As the call center had less staff they were unable to support their customers 24*7 causing loss of new business opportunities. But with the IVR, they started utilizing the automated support feature allowing them to support their customers after, off business hours as well.
2. To overcome the low staff problem the contact center hired new agents. But they first needed to train the new agents about the product and services offered by their contact center.
With the addition of IVR, the agents completed their training in a detailed way without worrying about the call volume management.
3. IVR also helped the contact center in cutting the wait time. As IVR works in combination with ACD, the calls were routed to the correct queue based on the IVR option selected by the caller. Thus, reducing the overall wait time.
4. Due to IVR, the contact center was able to be available 24*7 for their customers and also showed improvement in their call handling and high wait time. The customers of the call centers noticed a better level of service.
5. As they were working on their weak areas and was showing improvement the customers continued their business relationship with the call center giving them a chance to turn these customers into loyal long-term customers of their services.
IVR implementation helped the company in seamless and effective call management process. This also improved the overall performance and quality of service resulting in increased professional image of the company and achieving 40 percent boost in the Customer Satisfaction Index.
With the increased availability, they were also able to gain some new business opportunities which resulted in improved productivity and increased ROI of their call center.
From this, we can see the perks of including an IVR system in a call center. This also enables a contact center to provide round the clock support to their clients without any agent available in real-time.
In addition to that, it plays a significant part in enhancing the overall performance of a contact center by indirectly improving the various performance metrics with its features.
If all these elements seem to help you in achieving a well-organized call handling system, it’s time for you to introduce an IVR system and integrate it with your cloud based call center solutions to get the perfect results.