As you begin to consider a new or upgraded enterprise-level IVR system for your business, there’s a lot to consider before planning your first call flow. In the past, we’ve covered common IVR complaints, strategy, choosing an IVR, CRM integration, customer journeys, and other tactical topics. Now it’s time to dig into pre-planning, the things you need to know before you start looking for voiceover talent.
An IVR infrastructure is the server and operating system on which IVR systems run. At a minimum, it provides the ability to play and record prompts and respond to touch-tone input. Some platforms may also offer the ability to recognize speech from callers (voice recognition), translate text into speech output for callers (text-to-speech), and transfer calls to any telephone or call center agent.
With the progression of cloud computing, IVR platforms are now available as entirely cloud-based solutions with the reliability and security that equals or surpasses legacy on-premise systems. Additionally, a cloud-based IVR enables complete scalability for companies who may have seasonal or situational spikes in inbound call volume, eliminating concerns over the possibility of busy signals.
If you’re upgrading your current infrastructure, does your IVR platform have what it takes to delight customers and increase your efficiency? Does it have easy to use tools that put you in control, or are you reliant on a consultant or IT staff?
IVR applications replicate conversational flows and respond to customers via automation. Best-in-class applications help customers feel empowered to handle their issues and, at the same time, enjoy the convenience and ease of doing so without needing to interact with an agent.
Applications that tie into existing data stores can leverage known data about the caller, then gather additional information through prompts to complete a transaction automatically. If an automated operation isn’t possible, customers can be seamlessly transferred to live agents.
IVR applications that integrate with back-end database and application servers to retrieve records and information create the best customer experience. These applications proactively direct the caller based on data that exists instead of forcing every caller down the same path.
When assessing your own IVR application, is it delivering on customer delight? Is it integrated with your data stores?
The telephony infrastructure includes everything necessary to get the caller talking to an agent. It includes telephone lines, call switching equipment, VPNs, MPLS connectivity, and call center Automatic Call Distributors (ACDs). Telephone lines for IVR can be standard analog lines, digital T1, or a SIP trunk. These lines connect between the IVR platform and the call switching equipment, including Telco switches, Voice over IP gateways, and corporate PBX’s; or directly to a call center’s ACD.
Modern customer service operations also need to consider text messaging, website chat, email, and social media messaging to delight today’s omnichannel customers.
Is your infrastructure where it needs to be and poised for growth? Are you utilizing hosted cloud services to gain flexibility, scalability, and seamless access to customer account information?
The Four Components of an IVR Strategy
Now that you have the basics to prepare you for planning your new system or upgrade, there are four key components of a complete IVR strategy. It’s essential to include these concepts in your early planning. As your business grows, you may not need this level of sophistication now, but when you grow, you’ll be ready.
We live in an era of personalization, self-service, immediate gratification, and the Cloud. Customers want to handle their issues or get answers to questions all on their own, without needing to interact with a live agent. Data-driven outbound IVR is used more and more to proactively get information to or from the customers without waiting for them to call. Cloud IVR systems and applications allow companies to keep data-driven information accessible by leveraging their CRM for increased efficiency and customer delight.
IVR’s must consider the caller first. How is their experience interfacing with the IVR? Is it their first time? If it’s a positive experience, the caller is more likely to choose self-service. If the caller opts to speak with a live agent, the agent should have the caller’s information on their screen. Having a solutions-oriented strategy is the foundation of a LeanCS strategy. By its very nature, it compels companies to focus on efficiency and customer needs.
Communicating options and choices with clarity are imperative to deliver customer delight. It’s necessary to make it clear to customers that your IVR system can resolve the reason they’re calling. If the system has a single purpose, introduce that purpose to callers upfront. If the system can do several different things, create a clear and concise menu structure that quickly educates callers about their automated and self-service choices.
With the ability to reduce calls to agents, while keeping a superior level of service and customer satisfaction, enterprises are increasingly turning to a cloud-based IVR. Automation through a cloud IVR reduces the cost of everyday sales, service, collections, inquiry, and support calls to and from their company to gain a productivity edge. Customer service operations that follow these guidelines will reduce costs, increase efficiency, and most importantly, delight customers.
You’re On Your Way
Hopefully, we’ve helped to give you the necessary information and confidence you need to get started on your way to delivering exceptional customer experiences. If you need some expert guidance, contact us to learn more about how we can help.
In the meantime, check out more of our blog posts for addition reading: