Is Your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Doing More Harm Than Good?

Is Your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Doing More Harm Than Good?

IVR also known as the Interactive Voice Response is a beloved and hated tool within the contact center world, depending on who you ask and how it is used.

Originally created in the 70’s, it has grown from touch tone keypad to voice recognition.

IVR was created with the best intention in mind. Benefits of IVR are many when used correctly, saving both staff and customers time as well as reducing contact center expenses.

Yet could it be that something so good be negatively affecting your customer service?


Benefits of IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

Points customers in the right direction

IVR is meant to help clients move along their customer service journey by connecting them to the right department and gather the necessary information needed for and agent to assist them.

Reduces staff expenses

With an IVR, customers don’t always need to be connected to an agent at all. If it’s a general question, the IVR can assist the customer and give them the necessary information they are asking for.

Answers to account information and FAQs can easily be handed out without the need of being transferred to an agent.

As a consequence, fewer agents are needed, resulting in lower staff expenses. Your agents can focus on giving improved customer service and first call resolution, resulting in happier customers.

IVR does not equal better customer service

It’s clear that IVR is a great time and money saver, so why are we still debating it?

Ever been stuck on a complicated IVR and ended up repeating, screaming and hanging up because it wasn’t doing what you needed it to?

Point proven.

IVR maps can be are long and confusing, voice recognition can be of poor quality and the entire process can plain out stress the client instead of making their lives easier.

Quality IVR needs quality logistics

Just because you have an IVR doesn’t necessarily mean you are cutting costs and giving a quality experience to your customers.

It depends on how agent logistics are being handled.

  • How are you organizing the shifts of your agents?
  • Have you analyzed peak hours, holidays and months?
  • How are you managing the number of agents according to peak activities?
Poor logistics can result in overworked agents, which can directly impact your customer service. Agents are an integrated part of your IVR and also need to be taken into account.

The importance of human touch

Gartner studies show that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of the relationship with a company without interacting with a human.
It might be debated that clients preferring automated self-service have doubled to 55% in the last five years. And it’s true that as a first resource, customers like to do their own online research browsing through forums, blogs, videos, tutorials and FAQs to get their answers before picking up the phone.

However, if clients still need further assistance, they expect a human to guide them through the technicalities they were unable to figure out themselves.

Even if having a reliable, intuitive and intelligent IVR system for your customer service experience is essential, we cannot underestimate the power of the human touch when it comes to customer service.
As of today, no machine can empathize and deduct from logical reasoning like a human does.

Constructing a smooth IVR experience

Options are good, but too much of a good thing is not. When interacting with an IVR, keep options limited. Having customers listen until Option 9 is every clients’ nightmare.
In addition, IVRs can also serve the purpose of collecting customer data in order for agents to attend them faster once they are connected. Yet, many times, the same information gets asked twice. Why is there a disconnection between the IVR and the agent? It’s a bump in the customer service road that needs to be fixed.

IVRs is not the answer to cheaper and better quality customer service. IVR is a mere tool, and must be used and set up the right way for it to work.

Is your IVR up to par or in need of some revamping? What do you recommend doing to have an all-star IVR? Share your thoughts in the comment box down below!

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