Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows humans to interact with a computer-operated phone system through the use of voice and DTMF (Dual tone multi-frequency) tones input via a keypad. Callers can input their response via their telephone keypad (touch-tone) or using voice commands (IVR with voice recognition). The Interactive Voice Response System will then transfer the call via call routing to either an agent or self-serve application.
From customer service improvements to an improved chance of return business, IVR can give businesses a real leg up in the field. If you don’t already have one of these systems in place, here are 5 good reasons to put one in.
1. Better customer experience
An IVR makes sure no customer hears nothing but a ringing phone. An IVR can also help move customers quickly to the most relevant person to answer any questions.
The key to enhancing the customer experience is that if the caller does need to speak to an agent, the information is seamlessly transferred and presented to the best agent to handle the query. This greatly improves productivity and reduces caller frustration. In addition, a well-crafted IVR and more advanced speech IVR (a system that recognizes spoken words or is “speech-enabled”) allows callers to self-serve outside of your standard business hours, enabling your organization to be available 24x7x365.
2. No more connection errors.
A receptionist transferring calls can accidentally transfer these to the wrong department, frustrating callers. With an IVR, customers place their own transfers.
3. More inbound calls.
Instead of having just enough call capacity to take care of a few callers, all calls hit the IVR at the same time. Customers then begin the process of connecting to the appropriate department, which gives employees more time to resolve calls.
4. Improved costs.
Greater efficiency — and the ability to handle inbound calls — from an automated system means the same number of employees can handle more calls.
5. Non-stop availability.
A customer can enter the IVR system at any time of the day or night. Even if the end result is “leave a message,” the customer still gets something accomplished. That improves the customer’s perception of the process and the chance of return business.