The author of this post is located in the U.K.
The ultimate goal of contact centres is to promote positive customer interactions and outcomes. Questions should be answered and issues resolved - resulting in happier customers anxious to spread the good news about your products and services. To help realise this goal, modern contact centres implement IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology in their establishments. IVR helps companies to route calls in an efficient manner so that agents can deal with more complex customer issues. With a resilient voice platform and the right combination of applications, routing and speech services, IVR enables First Contact Resolution and reduced costs to serve by successfully automating more calls, improving customer experience and reducing reliance on agents. In theory, this protocol should work properly. But in practice, there are a few common complaints that may arise with IVR that can seriously hinder your customers’ experience. Consider these common IVR complaints and how to fix them.
5 Common IVR Complaints and How to Solve Them
Complaint #1: Too Many Call Transfers
“Let me transfer you to the next available agent in that department…please hold.” These are words customers dread hearing. These words are often the beginning of the never-ending loop of transferred calls; from department-to-department; person-to-person. No one likes their time wasted. Callers want a quick response to their question or concern – not the run-around.
Having a properly configured IVR that routes callers to the appropriate agent from the start, immediately improves the customer experience (CX) simply by mitigating unnecessary frustration. Choosing an IVR that contains Intelligent Call Routing - and includes skills-based routing - minimises the number of necessary transfers. And with the right contact centre solution in place, agent skills can be updated in real-time. Alternatively, agents can be re-allocated to various departments or call groups for quicker contact handling and ultimately, fewer transfers.
Complaint #2: Repetition is Redundant
“For the third time, my case number is…” The last thing callers want to do when contacting a company to address an issue is to repeat their information over and over. Customers quickly become exasperated with the contact-handling process when they have to continuously repeat themselves. When asked to type in a case number or order number by an IVR, it’s expected that this information will be transferred onto to any and all departments for the proper handling.
Leveraging the power of cloud technologies facilitates the creation of a multi-channel IVR that can integrate and sync across call-handling groups and software products. Deploying voice, chat and social media channels that provide relevant and timely customer data to all agents ensure that information is transferred to the correct person, promoting more efficient customer interactions (not to mention higher agent productivity). With the right IVR solution in place, customers may even be able to complete their own request through self-service tools.
Complaint #3: Too Many Menu Options
The average caller won’t listen past about 5-6 menu options. (Let alone an essay on how the current menu options have changed or how many different languages are offered). When too many touch- or voice-activated prompts are set up in your IVR, customers tend to zone out and just press “0” or simply get annoyed and hang up. Obviously, both of these options are undesired and do little to enhance the customer experience.
Partnering with an IVR and contact centre specialist is a good place to start. Enlisting the help of professionals that create succinct IVR menus is a smart choice for companies to make. Cloud-based contact centre and IVR experts can customise your menu to reflect your company’s message and culture, without driving away business with menu options that drone on endlessly.
Complaint #4: Outdated Options and Legacy Features
Customer needs are always changing and so is the nature of your business offerings. Continuing to use an IVR containing outdated selections isn’t doing anyone any favors. Customers may be confused by number choices that don’t reflect a company’s current product line, and support staff will experience lowered productivity as they have to manually re-route misdirected calls.
Businesses would be remiss if they stayed complacent with their IVR choices and features, without updating them to reflect customer-driven interactions. In fact, a recent market research report indicated that 88 percent of consumers most frequently use voice/IVR Video as their primary customer service channel. With a smartphone in virtually every hand, consumers are clamoring for the ability to contact companies in myriad ways from varying devices.
Companies must continue to glean feedback from their customers to optimise their customer experience. Interactions with the IVR must be continually documented and reviewed. Analytics should be in place to identify areas where upgrades could enhance and improve the customer experience and reduce agent task load.
Complaint #5: Long Hold Times and a Lack of Prioritisation
Can you relate to this scenario? Imagine you’re in line at the grocery store with only two items in your basket and all self-checkout lines are closed. There are five people ahead of you with carts so full it looks like they are buying for their whole neighbourhood! At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Can I just pop to the front of the line to quickly handle my two items?” This situation is similar to one in which a caller is in a hold queue with a quick question, but has to maneuver through the system and wait until their call is picked up or handled through chat. Both situations spark frustration and drive customers to lose patience while on hold.
With an IVR configured for prioritisation of quick issue handling – as well as managing high-volume, VIP customer complaints - callers can be bumped to the top of the queue when appropriate, alleviating unnecessary hold times. Also, adding integration with customer CRM and ERP databases make it possible to transfer customers to automated services like balance checks and bill paying for self-service. And customers can gain access to software tools like FTP to upload .csv or .xml files for increased response times and improved case handling. Automated notifications can be configured, too, providing customers with the information they are looking for and increasing their overall satisfaction and experience.
As with any evolving facet of life, company IVR systems need to constantly be monitored and tweaked to optimise the customer experience. No matter the complaint, having the ideal system in place - with the best configurable features to match your company’s needs - will assist in keeping IVR complaints to a minimum. And partnering with an industry leader in cloud-contact solutions and IVR will also ensure the best possible experience for your customers – now and in the future.
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