Leadership Conversation / 20.08.2021

Are IVRs Good or Bad for Customer Experience?

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution enables your customers to self-solve their issues through human-like interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. IVR systems can be great for customer experience (CX) because customer service centers can program them to resolve issues more quickly.

However, many IVR solutions have inherent problems that can negatively affect CX.

Why IVRs Are Good for CX

IVRs help you overcome customer service challenges and deliver on your callers’ expectations. Their benefits include:

Rapid Call Resolution
The primary reason organizations roll out an IVR solution is to solve customer issues as quickly as possible. An IVR in your contact center can assign the most knowledgeable agents to specific callers with specific problems. This is crucial to providing the expert customer service that your callers demand and rapidly resolving their issues.

An IVR also allows you to record messages and prompts for customers, who are greeted with their first name when their caller ID is recognized. This establishes a personalized experience and enables your organization to handle calls 24/7.

Improved CX
Increasingly, customers are becoming tech-savvy and willing to take their business to a competitor if they don’t receive the type of service they expect. An IVR lets you avoid customer churn by providing consistent experiences on multiple channels, such as email, Facebook and Twitter, which gives customers a choice in how they interact with your brand. This results in higher customer satisfaction and positive brand perception levels.

Enhanced Personalization
Customers expect personalized services across all their interactions with brands, including IVRs. With an IVR, you can offer a more customized service using biometric authentication to identify a caller’s voice and then route them to the most appropriate call agent or service.

Error Minimization
An effective IVR removes human error by using automation to complete tasks that people find tedious, such as collecting customer information, updating caller details and finding product information. Customer Service Automation solutions, which leverage the combined power of various technologies, including IVR systems, AI, and data analytics, are crucial to resolving caller queries as quickly as possible.

Call Prioritization
An IVR allows you to prioritize incoming calls from high-value customers, which are either people who purchase the most from you or have a high level of influence for your brand. This ensures important calls don’t go unattended, callers are routed directly to the best-qualified agent or placed at the front of a queue if all agents are busy.

Incoming call menus can also be designed to route a caller to the most appropriate agent, reducing the chances of a call reaching an unsuitable agent and saving everyone time.

Cost Reductions
An IVR offers significant cost reductions by routing callers to a service that helps them immediately self-solve their issue rather than wait on hold for a human call agent. Improved call resolution and deflection rates result in better call center cost metrics, including cost per transaction.

Why IVRs Can Be Bad for CX

Despite these positives, IVRs can present difficulties and challenges that contact center leaders must watch out for.

Customer Confusion
Incoming call menus can help customers quickly solve their issues, but these menus can sometimes be lengthy and complicated. It’s essential to limit the number of choices available and not force callers to go through too many menu options to avoid frustration. Furthermore, menu options need to be easy for customers to understand. They should coincide with their requirements rather than companies’ internal processes or terminologies, which risk confusing callers.

Additionally, voice prompts enable customers to quickly self-solve their problems. However, cheap text-to-speech software often offers poor audio quality, making messages challenging to understand.

Time and Queue Concerns
Long waiting times occur when contact centers face high volumes of traffic, such as in the event of a problem with an online service. Long queues will likely lead to customers dropping calls and losing faith in your brand. Some IVRs, depending on how they’ve been set up, place customers into queues that feature irrelevant adverts, which further frustrates callers.

You can prevent all this from happening by:
– Using call-back technology and mobile self-service options
– Playing key information that could help solve the issues of incoming callers

Poor Channel Integration
Despite being one of the most-used customer service technology features, a traditional IVR doesn’t offer the same sophistication as newer digital channels. That’s often because IVR systems are separate from other digital platforms that customers use to contact organizations. This fails to capture the entire customer journey and may not allow the IVR to integrate with other app- or web-based services.

Making IVRs Work for You

A successful IVR meets customers’ needs, helps them solve problems as quickly as possible and integrates with your other solutions. It relies on technology that:
– Automates call responses
– Steers callers to the right agent every time
– Uses customer data to identify callers and create personalized experiences

These factors will help you reduce the time to completion, deliver seamless handoffs between the IVR, call agents, and digital channels, improve call resolution rates and remove your dependence on live call agents.

IVRs should also offer conversational AI and natural language-based speech recognition. These tools allow you to capture customer intent, allow callers to speak naturally and increase self-service success rates. You also need to track what’s happening in your contact center with analytics tools that monitor customer satisfaction and optimize call agent performance.

Our U-Self Serve solution enhances the features and functionality of your IVR, making it more cost-effective, user-friendly, and intelligent. It enables you to automate conversations, personalize content, understand caller sentiment, resolve issues in real time, and deliver next-generation customer experience levels.

To discover how Uniphore can help your organization leverage IVR technology to deliver an exceptional customer experience, get in touch with one of our experts today.