Let’s face it, when your customers call they are not typically reaching out to thank your company or give a contact center agent a pat on the back. They are calling because there is an issue, a question, or a purchase that is about to be made and they need help. If they are calling about a problem, they are probably not in a patient mood. They just want a quick resolution.
When your customers call, how are they greeted and treated?
Gone are the days of a real person answering when you first call a company. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is the norm, serving as the customer front door to the company. But when that IVR experience goes awry, bogging the customer down with too many options, confusing menus and no way to talk to an agent, the customer journey is already off to a bad start.
In a recent Frost & Sullivan executive summary report on the state of IVR readiness, Nancy Jamison, principle analyst for contact centers stated, “People don’t hate IVR, they just hate bad IVR.” In the report, Frost points out that bad reactions are typically due to poorly designed IVR scripts and as a result of a company’s “set & forget” mentality. If the IVR is left in place, chugging away in the background with no attempt to modernize it, implement advanced self-service, or integrate it with other channels, your customers will not only know it, but they will react accordingly, either hanging up and trying again later, or worse, giving up on your company and moving to a competitor.
This raises the logical question: how do you ensure you are delivering an IVR experience that keeps your customers happy?
Customer experience is an essential element (some would argue THE essential element) for any company – large or small. Today’s customer is very different from the customer that may have interacted with an IVR launched a decade ago. Customers now use many different channels, have a much better understanding and broader use of technology, and are busier than ever before. When companies silo customer information, requiring customers to repeat information once an agent is reached, the customer journey is broken.
If your outdated IVR system does not take advantage of the latest innovations like natural language interfaces, personalization, and artificial intelligence-based responses, including those available in cloud-based systems, then you may be annoying your customer base the minute they call you. According to Frost & Sullivan, two of the most important technological recent advancements in IVR systems are the addition of speech technologies and the ability to blend IVR with other technologies.
If you want to make sure you can count on your IVR to welcome your customers and get them to the best person to answer their question or solve their problem, be sure to download the complete Frost & Sullivan Executive Summary titled, When Customers Call, and They Will, Will Your IVR be Ready? The report includes useful information on how to modernize your IVR and leverage best practices to address today’s customers, including case studies that show the real results that can be gained from updating your IVR.