IVR’s (Interactive Voice Response) have had a negative aura around them, primarily because like anything else, not caring about the user experience leads to terrible outcomes. Every channel, including IVR, has inherent drawbacks and limitations; every channel also needs to be used correctly.

The industry places so much attention on call cost containment that it forgets about customer delight and the customer loyalty that comes from delightful interactions with a brand. Sadly, such inattention to the right things is in stark contrast to the new reality.

A Gartner report showed that executives believe that by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.

When thinking about how to deliver a delightful experience to callers into your IVR, here are some best practices to keep in mind and well as the basics of how to make these best practices come to life…

1. Use Conversational Context

The first time someone calls to order a pizza, sure – ask them their name and street address and phone number. Next time around, a good IVR will recognize your caller and the need to ask them their name, address, or phone number isn’t necessary because your IVR is so smart that it already knows! Perhaps the second time around, your IVR is asking “Do you want to order a double order of wings and a large pizza again?”

 

2. Use A Professional Voice To Define A Brand

Perception is everything. The right voice can define your brand. Have your IVR professionally recorded by a professional voice talent.

 

3. Create Smart Integrations

Have the IVR act as a whole – integrations with CRM, integrations with call agents. Nothing angers people more than saying the same thing multiple times during an interaction. Integrations into information systems in real time also allow you to tailor the call based on information already known about the caller.

 

4. Build A Multi-Channel CX

Allowing them to move across channels is important. For example, asking for complex information in IVR is a big no-no. During the call, send them a link to fill out that complex information and then allow the IVR to continue. Here are more tips on how to create a stellar IVR experience for customers.

 

5. Modify IVR Branches By Popularity

A great example of an annoying IVR are the ones that have a minute and a half long message before the caller can do what they want. Instead, understand why your callers are calling – what their most important issues are and modify the IVR structure to place the most common branches first. If you need a little extra help, check out this post: How To Improve Your IVR By Listening To Your Customers.

 

6. Be Nice When Requesting Information

Say please when requesting info from callers but not too many times. Try to make the IVR interaction as humanly sounding as possible.

 

7. Keep An IVR Fresh & Up-To-Date

Don’t build your IVR and let it run for 10 years. Get analytics around where callers are tripping up and change your IVR accordingly. Humans learn to communicate better with each interaction with someone else. Same with IVR. In fact, not updating an IVR is one of the most common mistakes when creating one in the first place.

 

8. Secure & Protect Caller Information

Callers are deeply concerned over breaches that compromise their personal information. As such, having an IVR platform that has security and privacy best practices implemented allows you to earn your callers trust. Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to maintaining a secure IVR.

Here’s what you’ll need to make these best practices come to life:

 

  •  A Single, Comprehensive Platform:
    • Allows you to host IVR application logic, audio files, and data in one place. This makes maintaining the security and compliance profiles around your IVR easier. It also means less technical handoffs to manage and fewer things to go wrong.
  • Platform-As-A-Service Offering:
    • Reduces the technology management burden for your organization. You do not have to worry about building and maintaining a resilient, secure, and redundant infrastructure. Nor do you need the in-house expertise to manage such an infrastructure.
  • A HIPAA-compliant and PCI-Compliant Platform Provider:
    • You can now assure your callers that you offer the utmost security in the industry. Ask your provider if they adhere to the HITRUST security framework (for healthcare data), are PCI Level 1 certified as a service provider (for financial and credit card data), have an SSAE-16 Type II report and comply with ISO 27002 or NIST 800-53 (often asked for by government entities).
  • Built-In Multi-Carrier Redundancy:
    • This should be built in with telecom carriers. so that your calls are completing problem-free and the quality of service is top-notch.

 

Akash Desai,

President, IVR Technology Group