phone digital channelIn a recent Ovum survey on customer service, 75% of respondents indicated that they have successfully resolved their issues over the phone, compared with just 11% on a website and 5% via social media.  This is the so-called “digital age,” right?  Yet, this data truly highlights why it is critically imperative for companies to continue to focus on their phone channel and IVR interactions with their customers.

Let’s face it, IVRs are prone to being neglected. Maybe they are overlooked due to the focus on adding digital communication channels. Or, more attention is paid to increasing agent efficiency. Regardless of the reason, the phone channel can not be ignored in favor of its digital brethren, as it is often the “go-to” channel when a customer really needs help.

Interestingly, despite the data showing customers still experience the highest resolution rates via the phone, the reality is most companies have not allocated resources to improving this channel. According to Ovum, 43% of customers surveyed about their frustrations with customer service pinpoint IVR as the biggest issue. Furthermore, of the top six frustrations, five can be directly attributed to poorly designed IVRs. These frustrations include: difficulty reaching a representative, being transferred, taking too long to find an answer, and having to repeat information.

To address this disconnect between where customers go to resolve their issues and the lack of investment in the phone channel, we recently conducted a webinar with Ovum, “A Solid Customer Experience Strategy Starts With Your IVR.”  Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst of Customer Engagement at Ovum, shared some of her thoughts from her recent white paper, Best Practices for Deploying a Modern, Predictive IVR System.

During the webinar we covered five best practices for building a modern IVR:

  1. Integrate IVR to achieve omnichannel customer experience (CX) – The reality is customer journeys are not confined to a single channel. Customers change channels all the time, and interact with businesses on multiple channels, sometimes simultaneously.
  2. Capitalize on mobile capabilities – Take advantage of mobile accessibility, location information, and visual options directly from the IVR before the interaction reaches the agent.
  3. Simplify self-service options – Often, IVR menus stretch on for too long, confusing the caller. Instead, they should be dramatically revamped to streamline interactions for the customer.
  4. Utilize data – By integrating the IVR with a CRM and/or other databases, interactions can be personalized, and companies can become predictive and proactive in their customer interactions.
  5. Continuously improve your IVR and CX strategy – Your business is not static, so your IVR shouldn’t be either.  View your IVR as an application that helps you continuously improve and optimize the customer experience.

During our global webinar, we conducted two polls to solicit feedback about why businesses are interested in potentially updating their IVR, and what their priorities are in that update.  The answers yielded some interesting results.

Question One: What is the main reason your business wants to update your IVR?

Possible answers:

  • Give customers more personalized options
  • Empower agents with more information and capabilities
  • Improve contact center efficiency
  • Ensure more accurate routing
  • All the above
  • None of the above

In the US and APAC, attendees chose all of the above as the number one answer at 45% and 55%, respectively.  All relate to making the IVR more dynamic so an all of the above answer is not too surprising. EMEA’s number one answer was improve contact center efficiency at 46%, which was a close number two for the US at 43% and APAC at 41%.  The US and APAC also agreed on give customers more personalized options as their third choice, but in APAC this answer tied with ensure more accurate routing, which was the third choice for Europe at 36% for both geographies.

Question Two: Of the five best practices, which is your top priority for improving your current IVR?

Possible answers:

  • Integrate your IVR with other channels for seamless CX
  • Enhance mobile capabilities
  • Simplify and improve menu options
  • Include – or increase – data integrations
  • Begin continuously improving IVR
  • All the above
  • None of the above

The shift to digital is here, but the phone is where many customers still get their information and resolve urgent matters. Be sure you are incorporating your IVR plans into your omnichannel customer experience strategy, and delivering self-service IVR options your customers are demanding.

Not surprisingly, Simplifying and improving menu options came out in the lead across all the geographies at 62% in the US, 63% in EMEA, and an overwhelming 80% in APAC. In EMEA, the number one spot at 63% was also a tie with Integrate your IVR with other channels, which was the number two spot for APAC, and number three for the US.  Continuously improving IVR came in as number three, on average, for all three regions.

GenesysSocial-OVUM_IVRTo gain a better understanding of how we can help you modernize your IVR to deliver the optimal customer experience view the entire webinar at your convenience  on-demand. To learn more from the Ovum survey, you can download the white paper Best Practices for Deploying a Modern, Predictive IVR System.