With the end of another school year, graduation parties, and kids kicking up their heels, I’m reminded of the iconic 1986 teen movie about one last-ditch day before graduation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer. What does this have to do with self-service IVR? Well, one of the lines perfectly delivered by the star of the ultimate “skip day” movie is:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while,
you could miss it.” 

The same is true with your IVR. Your business is moving fast and so are you. It’s easy to look past something that seems to work adequately. But you are missing the parade float if you don’t stop, take a look around, and see how your IVR can reduce contact center costs while improving the customer experience.

Building a business case is rarely straight forward. Fortunately, with personalized IVR, many of the advantages directly affect the bottom line in tangible ways by reducing contact center costs through increased self-service rates.

A large part of the cost savings arise from deflecting calls to the contact center. This should not be done by hiding the option to speak to an agent in an elusive IVR menu. On the contrary, the option to speak to an agent should be available and apparent to the caller at all times. The way to increase self-service rates even with an agent available is to offer appealing alternatives that customers want to use.

If You Don’t Customize, You Will Get Caught

Ferris tried his hand at the recorded outbound message. He thought it was pretty good and that he could set it and move on to something more fun. And it worked… at first.

Doorbell Rings, recorded message starts: “Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t come to the door right now. I’m afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further school absences. You can reach my parents at their places of business. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your concern for my well-being. Have a nice day!”

The message worked until someone tried to interact with it. Then it became an obvious, and very funny, fail. Your old IVR menus may also work for some, but it won’t work for all. To ensure the adoption of self-service applications you should offer menu options and self-service tools that are customized to the caller’s characteristics and the call context. This is achieved through personalized IVR, which uses information about the customer to gain context and deliver a customized experience in the form of relevant menu options and the required self-service functionality.

Personalized IVR ensures that the remaining callers, who have not been deflected, will be handled in a much more efficient way. By anticipating the nature of the customer interaction and using intelligent call steering, callers can be forwarded to the best available agent to resolve a query. Agents who deal with reduced inbound call volume can focus on particular queries with context—leading to higher first-call resolution rates and a reduction in call escalations.

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

Cameron’s father’s car was beautiful. It purred. The car even had a garage with a view, and a pedestal for parking. And his dad had lovingly restored it. Cameron might have overlooked the value derived by restoring the classic car, but Ferris understood it.

“It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

Restoring or upgrading your IVR is often overlooked, yet it can contribute substantially to a higher return on investment (ROI). Quantifying the contribution depends on the current costs of managing the IVR, and how efficient these changes become.

In addition to those personalized IVR advantages, giving business users and other non-technical people the tools to manage their IVR is another way to drive down costs. This can minimize the cost to update call flows and prompts, and create new applications. Compare this to the traditional IVR approach, which requires lengthy, and costly change requests and code changes. You’ll easily see how this improves efficiencies and cost savings.

These changes result in cost reductions, which achieve a ROI in months rather than years. Overall contact center costs can often be reduced by up to 30 to 40%. This leaves us to the intangible benefits, other cost reductions, and sources of improved revenue. Through personalized IVR, customer service becomes a differentiator and a source of competitive advantage for companies who are setting the pace rather than playing catch up with their competitors. And by offering a great customer experience, good metrics follow in the form of higher NPS, positive reviews, and increased revenue. In other words, it will get your IVR purring.

Another Ferris Bueller-ism

“The question isn’t what are we going to do. The question is what aren’t we going to do.”

You can’t afford to sit back and leave your IVR and its old menus in place. If you are still not convinced, think about the question above—you can’t continue to do things the way you’ve been doing them. Instead, think about personalization and how the delivery of exceptional customer experiences will get your customers twisting and shouting. The earlier you do so, the better—every day that passes represents a lost opportunity to lower costs, increase revenue, and improve your customer experience.

Spoiler alert: Cameron might have killed the Ferrari, but you don’t want your IVR to kill your relationship with customers.

Take our new quiz to see if your IVR is helping provide a great experience and making you a “righteous dude,” or making your customers view an interaction with you as enjoyable as a dreaded trip to principal, Ed Rooney’s office. It’s time to “shake up” your IVR!