The customer service industry is rapidly evolving. New trends, new technologies, and new practices keep cropping up every day. Unless your business follows these trends and adopts these technologies, it will go obsolete. Interestingly, there is one ancient practice that is still relevant today – customers preferring to talk to businesses over the phone.
However, just like this evergreen practice, the challenges that come along with it are also relevant today. For instance, when the call volume is high, your agents or employees will get stressed out, which will impact their productivity. At the other end of the spectrum, your customers are going to have a poor experience, thanks to long wait times and resolution times. Many businesses countered this challenge by hiring more agents. But it started emptying their coffers in no time.
And that’s where an IVR helps. It not only reduces the overall costs of handling customer calls but also improves the productivity of your business. Let’s find out everything about IVR and its benefits in this post.
What is IVR?
IVR is short for Interactive Voice Response. It is an automated telephone technology that enables your callers to interact with a pre-recorded voice response. They can answer the questions in the IVR either through touch-tone input or voice responses.
The goal of an IVR is simple – to reduce the burden on live agents by offering instant solutions to most customer queries. In case the IVR is unable to provide the appropriate solution, it can route the call to the right agent for additional assistance.
It improves call flows and decreases wait times. End result – improved customer experience.
How IVR reduces cost and gains productivity for the business?
To understand an IVR’s cost benefits, you must comprehend one simple idea – every second your customer spends on the phone is going to cost you money. In other words, the faster the caller gets a resolution or reaches the right agent, the more money you are going to save. An IVR is the easiest way to achieve it.
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For starters, you can design the IVR in such a way that most of the common questions related to your business are solved by the IVR on its own. And when your IVR’s script is crystal clear for the callers, they are going to reach the end of their calling journey pretty soon. On top of it, when the IVR is integrated with a CRM, the agents are going to have all the information at their fingertips when the call reaches them. In other words, they don’t have to waste their time in finding out all the basic information about the caller’s details.
Similarly, you must understand that your customer care team needs to handle several things at a time – sales, complaints, payments, order processing, appointments, returns, warranties, etc. There might be a separate agent or a team handling each of these departments. Without an IVR, the call will be connected to any random agent who has to manually redirect the call to the right agent. This can take a huge toll on your team’s productivity. This can be avoided when you are using an IVR, as every caller will be connected to the right agent instantly.
Also, you can use the IVR to handle all the low-priority tasks such as warranty activation, appointment rescheduling order status, etc., while your agents focus on more important and productive activities like sales.
Other key benefits of IVR
Let us now look at the other key benefits offered by an IVR system –
#1 Facilitates scalability
Your IVR is your biggest friend when your business is growing. Why? Because when your business grows, the number of inbound calls to your business number is going to grow exponentially. It is practically impossible to manage and financially impossible to hire hundreds of customer care executives to handle so many calls. An IVR comes to your rescue here because it can accommodate any number of calls without you having to pay anything extra.
Also, there can be days when you get thousands of calls on a single day. Similarly, there can be a lull period when you don’t get any calls at all. An IVR can eliminate the need to hire and fire customer care executives based on the fluctuations in the number of calls month on month.
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#2 Exudes professionalism
One of the biggest challenges that small businesses face is their inability to portray themselves as a professionally run business. Imagine a situation when a prospect calls your business, and it straight away goes to someone who has no clue what the customer wants. There are high chances that the customer will disconnect the call and never call your business again.
This is avoided by adopting an IVR. When the caller hears the sound of a recorded voice welcoming them warmly, their fears about your business are going to be allayed. And when they get an instant solution to their question, they are going to love your business more.
#3 Promote your products
IVR creates an excellent environment for you to market your products. For instance, many IVRs provide you with the option to tailor the messages according to your needs. For instance, if you have launched a new product, you can customize the IVR message to talk about this new product while a caller waits to be connected to a live executive. But a word of caution – do not overdo the promotion, as it can backfire. It should be subtle and should not hamper the customer experience. More importantly, ensure that the products are relevant to the callers.
For instance, you must not promote your new product via IVR to a caller who has come to raise a complaint about the same product.
#4 Happy employees
An IVR is helpful and beneficial not only for customers but also for customer care executives. Thanks to IVR and its smart routing feature, your agents need not spend their precious time talking to the wrong callers and routing them to the right executive. They will always be talking to the right callers, someone whose problem they are trained to solve. This can be a major morale booster for the employees. And we all know that a happy employee is more productive and more motivated to do a great job for the customers. Some of the advanced features like self-service options, skills-based routing, Natural language routing, etc., ensure that the agent is always prepared to deal with a customer that too fully equipped with the right solutions.
#5 Possibility of integration
Most cloud-based IVRs can be linked with other productivity tools and platforms like a CRM. This gives you multiple benefits. For starters, you can identify the caller even before he/she reaches the agent. This has a huge impact on the handling time as it eliminates many components in the call script. Also, it drastically improves the first-call resolution as your customers reach the right department in the first instance itself. Lastly, it enables your business to offer tailored services to your high-value clients, as your agents have all the necessary information at their fingertips.
And those are the top benefits of using an IVR in today’s world. As you can see, it is a key factor to reduce the cost of calling operations and improving the productivity of your customer executives. To reap the full benefits of an IVR, you must combine it with a cloud telephony platform like FreJun which comes loaded with powerful features like autodialer, call scheduling, plug-n-play integrations, call recording, etc.
To know more about FreJun, sign up for a free trial now.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the benefits of an IVR?
IVR comes with a bouquet of benefits such as offering scalability, a channel to promote your products, elevating employee experience, exuding professionalism, etc. This is apart from its 2 core benefits – reducing the cost of operations and elevating employee productivity.
- How can IVR improve customer experience?
IVR improves customer experience by reducing handling time, improving first-call resolution, and offering a customized experience to every caller.
- How is IVR useful in the field of marketing?
Marketers can use IVR to promote their new products by customizing the hold/wait message. Also, thanks to IVR’s integration with CRM, your agents will be better equipped to promote the right products to the callers based on the available information.
- How do you measure IVR success?
Some of the key metrics you must measure to determin IVR success include Task Completion Rate, Average Handling Time, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), etc.
- What do customers want from an IVR?
Customers or callers want an instant solution from an IVR or to reach the right department without having to spend too much time on the phone.
- What are the key features of IVR?
Some of the key features of IVR include call filter, identification, call queuing, callback automation, voice recognition, call recordings, etc.
- How Much Does Interactive Voice Response Cost?
The cost of IVR depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your business, expected number of calls, the features you are looking for, etc. But on average, an IVR costs anywhere between ₹5000 to ₹50000.