How to Have a Successful IVR System

by VENDIREX on 07/05/2015 - 03:16 pm |

Tags: Call Center Software, Help Desk Software

There aren’t many people in the world who have not become incensed at having to wander through a menu of disjointed prompts, when they were just trying to reach a specific person, or find the answer to a simple question. Sometimes it seems that nobody answers their company phones anymore. What happened to receptionists, is everyone too busy to take your call, and will anyone ever get your message and respond to you in this century?


Enter the most basic point of consideration - when you install or subscribe to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, it’s vital that the menu ‘tree’ be well designed and customized to your business and the customers who need to contact you. When there is a long list of rote messages prompting a voice response (speech recognition) or text-to-speech technology, which doesn’t get to the point or allow the caller to access their intended person or information quickly, you’re effectively chasing them away. You know the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out?” Well, if your system is poorly set up, you’re wasting your money and just irritating prospects and existing clients.


Remember an IVR has a special intended purpose - the reason it was invented in the first place was to handle the types of callers who asked the same repetitive questions; such as your business hours and address. It then progressed to routing customers to specific departments, and adding directories by employee name, etc. An IVR was not designed to be, nor is it capable of being, an FAQ like the one on your website which answers all types of questions. However, if logically designed your menu tree can anticipate appropriate questions, routing them to the intended person or one who can handle a successful resolution.


Rapid Access


Why should your business have a telephone at all, if your customers cannot reach you? Time is money, not just for you, but also for your clients. Think through your IVR menu wisely and put yourself in a caller’s place. If they don’t hear recognizable options quickly, give them a way to speak to somebody - either reception, or a particular department - pronto. One thing IVR is not going to tell you is how many people gave up and just hung up the phone. Have your provider properly set up your tree, after you sit down with your staff and collectively decide which routing would be most effective to help your customers.


Limit the Choices


Once a caller has chosen a category, such as art department or technical support, don’t keep drilling it down ad infinitum. By the time they have selected 4-5 choices, and whittled down the target to what they think will be a knowledgeable person at the other end, many will find that individual can’t help them after all and they’ll end up being transferred yet again. Road rage doesn’t even come close to how irate a caller can get after this happens to them a time or two. If they choose the art department, that should suffice - let someone in the art department answer the phone, find out what the caller is looking for and respond accordingly. Simply leaving your customer to flounder around in your IVR menu should not be your intention, and neither is it the purpose of the system in the first place.


Name Directories


Ah, and here we get down to one of the most aggravating elements. When directories are set up, again the data you put into them must be logical. To expect a caller to be able to correctly spell someone’s last name is treading on thin ice. Even the first few letters can throw off the directory, and result in a merry-go-round effect on the customer’s end. If you can instead have the customer choose names from a spoken list, with the employee’s name clearly pronounced, you will have much greater success and a happy client.



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