Best practices to improve customer service with IVR

Thinking of using IVR in your business? Here’s how you can use it to improve customer service.

IVR (interactive voice response) can be an asset for businesses of all sizes. But it is important to remember that you still need to strategize carefully to ensure that you are optimizing your use of it to get the best results.

To that end, here are just a few ways to leverage IVR for the purpose of improving the quality of customer service in your organization.

A quick intro to IVR

If you are unfamiliar with the common explanation of the IVR meaning, it should be simple for newcomers to grasp.

In essence, IVR is a type of phone service that lets businesses field calls, handle queries and serve customers without necessarily needing human operators to be involved in this interaction.

It can include simple push-button systems, where callers can navigate menus with their keypads, as well as more advanced solutions based on voice recognition, although the core purpose remains the same.

Give customers choice

In terms of ensuring that customers are happy with the service they receive when they call, an IVR service provider has to give them as much flexibility as possible.

The most important option to include in this context is the means to be put through to a live agent. Furthermore this option should not be buried right at the end of some obscure submenu, but should instead be a choice that is provided to them regularly, because while IVR is always convenient, some people simply prefer talking to a real human rather than using it.

Limit main menu length

The longer the list of options you provide callers in the main menu of your IVR setup, the trickier it will be to navigate, and the more frustrating it will become when they need to re-listen to the same extensive list being reeled off again.

Instead it is better to aim for an efficiently trimmed-down top tier selection of options, taking less than 30 seconds to listen to, so that the experience is as painless as possible.

Use conversational wording and inflections

Even the customers who are happy to use IVR rather than speaking with a live agent will prefer to harness this type of service if it feels like a human interaction, and one of the ways to achieve this is to model the recorded statements and responses around the way operators actually talk.

For example, it is perfectly sensible to add wording and inflections to the tone of the recordings that mirror actual conversations, rather than being dry, mechanical-sounding statements that lack humanity.

Avoid information repetition

Customers who have to give their details to an IVR system, only to have to repeat this once they are put through to a live agent, will be vexed by this apparent inconvenience.

Instead it is best to make sure that any information that a customer provides when interacting with an IVR solution is also made available to operators.

Follow these best practices and your IVR should be able to overhaul customer service and improve loyalty levels.