In today’s business scenario, keeping everything else constant, its customer experience (CX) that makes all the difference. But, how do we achieve an exceptional level of CX? The most important factor to consider for this is to look to improve customer engagement. Customers attribute good experience with great support. With changing times, the customers have also become more independent and look for self-service options rather than depend on human interactions.
Having Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology to offer self-service for the do-it-yourself types have proved to be successful over the years. But, IVRs can’t be trusted blindly. They need to be optimized for better results.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind while optimizing your IVR system to improve customer experience:
Update IVR Script regularly
Closely listen to the IVR script to identify any gaps and areas of improvement. The script needs to be short and yet meaningful. Regularly listen and update it. It is important to add or remove necessary options when a new product/service is launched or discontinued. Moreover, keep a keen eye on what options your customers are choosing and at what stage do they end the call. This will help in mapping out the customer experience journey since the time the customer calls up the support number.
Shorten the Menu options
Do not make the customers wait for long to get their queries resolved. The customers will not appreciate going through too many options to find the one they are looking for. Since most of the queries on IVR are quite mundane and routine, there is no point in prolonging the process. It is preferred to keep the menu options under 5. Care must be take to have the provision of letting the customer listen to the options again or go back to the previous menu. Tracking and analyzing the customer preferences while choosing the IVR options, will help in setting up the order in which to present the options. The most used should be played first, followed by the least.
Transferring to Live Agent
In case of industries or situation where the time to service needs to be fast, it is better to have an IVR design which lets the customer connect to a live agent faster. Because, sometimes, we rely more on the humans than a machine. The customer should be able to talk to the agent utmost by the time she/he reaches the third level of IVR. Even though it is the company’s decision as to when to provide the option of talking to the live agent, but, it is advisable to neither give it too soon nor quite late. If it is right at the front, then that will impact the call volume. Whereas, if it is too deeply embedded (more than level 3), then the customer might hang up. Either way, it will hamper the operations as well as the customer satisfaction.
Consistency is the Key
Keep the brand language and messaging consistent across all the channels of communication. Whether its social media, email, chat or IVR, the terminologies should remain same. This assures the customers of being on the same page, irrespective of the channel through which they reach out to the company. For instance, if the IVR says “report lost credit card”, the website or the social media handles should also use the same nomenclature.
Avoid Frequent Changes
Changes are the part and parcel of business. With any new product or service, there are bound to be some changes that are required in the script and flow of the IVR. Having said that, make sure to not make too many changes to the IVR. The customers get accustomed to and comfortable with a certain language and flow of things. They come to expect it also. If there are frequent changes and repetitions in the IVR that that can be a cause of confusion and discomfort for the customers. This, in turn, will negatively impact their satisfaction levels. Keep the transition gradual and free-flowing to make it a seamless experience for your customers.
Interactive voice response is one of the easiest and sought after technology for self-service. By keeping the above-mentioned points in mind, you can not just optimize the IVR for better customer experience, but, for workforce optimization as well. If the IVR routes the customer to the best-suited agent for the query faster, it will also improve the first call resolution. This way, having an optimized IVR proves to be beneficial for all – customers, agents and the business.