IVR offers a host of benefits to both companies and customers alike. Companies may greatly reduce costs, increase sales, and maximize the efficiency of contact center agents, while customers save time and gain trust in a brand through an efficient customer service experience. However, simply implementing an IVR system is not enough for companies to truly deliver its benefits. The focus should remain on the customer-namely, optimizing the system for a seamless customer experience. Here are some best practices to follow to give customers an optimized, seamless IVR experience.
Customers need to understand the prompts given by an IVR system. Make sure the options are explained clearly in terminology any customer can understand. It’s also important to use terms consistent with your company’s other channels such as social media, web, and mobile. For example, if an IVR prompt uses the term “technical support” for technical assistance, the same terminology should be used on Facebook customer service pages, the company website, and all other channels. Companies should also strive to have a consistent brand voice-a specific approach to communicating with customers. Some brands take a more casual tone as it fits their product or service-for example, telecommunications companies or retailers that closely follow consumer preferences and regularly offer rewards or special deals. Other companies such as banks may opt for a more serious tone. Whatever your brand’s approach may be, the language used across all channels should be consistent so that customers can always feel they are communicating with the same company no matter which channel they are on.
Take the time to analyze which option is most important and popular with your customers to determine in which order the options should appear. Customers don’t want to wait until the end of the menu to hear the option they want. For example, if technical support is the most frequent reason for a call, then it should be option one. Providing an “other” prompt is also a good way to keep customers in the IVR longer and avoid too quick of a routing to an agent. The more the IVR enables self-service, the better. But do remember to keep the questions to a minimum-customers want their answers, but they shouldn’t have to answer too many questions to proceed to the next prompt. Lastly, customers should be given the option to repeat the menu if they wish.
Make sure to update menu options to reflect current customer concerns, as their reasons for contacting a business may change periodically. If there is a known issue with a product that has been recalled, for example, the IVR should offer an option to address this issue. It’s also important to gain customer feedback about the IVR experience, whether through an online survey or a follow-up call, that can help determine what changes need to be made. If there are frequently asked questions which are not currently being addressed through menu options, make sure to add them and also update all the FAQs on other channels. Remember that consistency is key.While an IVR system is beneficial to both businesses and customers, it’s critical to emphasize that the customer experience is what counts most. Customers should feel that there are obvious benefits to using IVR and be willing to turn to self-service when they need support. With an excellent IVR system, companies may attract more customers, retain their current ones, and gain long-term loyalty.
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