IVR. “Interactive Voice Response”. We’ve all been there: phoning a company with the simple intention of speaking with a human being, and instead ending up listening to a banal voice recording: “Press 1 for misery. Press 2 for hopelessness”, and perhaps even a happy little ditty intended to keep you entertained and feeling upbeat while you’re fruitlessly hunting the menus with increasing frustration for an option that sounds remotely like the one you need.

We’ve all experienced being unable to find the right option, unable to break out and reach an actual person.

It’s little wonder that IVR is sometimes perceived as an outdated channel – the dinosaur of customer experience.

So why isn’t IVR extinct? (like the other dinosaurs)

dinosaur
Many companies have failed to launch their automated voice services into the 21st century. They remain impaired with a static, long-winded customer experience that does their brand a huge and continued disservice, night and day, seven days a week.

Why? Because even though customers hate it, IVR is a well-known cost-saver and the business efficiency benefits are crystal clear. The few pence costs of an automated call versus the few pounds-per-minute of every call handled by a real person. The resourcing, the hiring, the firing, the maintenance; the people business is an expensive and risky affair.

But despite deciding to stick with IVR, companies and brands often overlook the potential of their IVR services. They’re failing to embrace voice automation as a modern digital channel, one that will provide fast, efficient and relevant customer experiences.

Why wouldn’t you direct customers to call a service that will always answer their calls, within seconds; why wouldn’t you reduce the worry of your call centre’s ‘busy hour’ and how to resource it?

But more importantly, why would you ask your customers to call a service that makes them wait in a horribly long queue or rings for several minutes before their call is answered?

An IVR that dreams are made of…

Smiling girl on phoneJust imagine… next time you’re greeted by an IVR, you receive the perfect experience. What would it be like?

The service would know and understand you.

You’d be presented with just the options that were most relevant to you. And not have to wade through a bunch of irrelevant options, seeking the treasure of successful self-service in a hostile and un-mapped landscape.

You’d get to where you want to be, with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of ease.

And when you’d done what you came to do, the conversation would continue: you might be told things you didn’t know, and offered services or benefits that you weren’t aware of. You’d complete the call a happier and more contented customer, your day becoming just a bit brighter. You’d be more loyal, you’d be a fan, you’d be an evangelist.

Start by understanding each customer (data is the key)

In the digital and data-driven world we live in, IVR, like all other channels, can guarantee much better results and a vastly improved customer experience if we use data to enable it.

And like any other channel, we want to feel that the companies we’re interacting with can show that they understand our needs. So they can serve us quickly, and make us feel special.

With the right ideas, advanced capability and careful, proactive management, an adaptive and dynamic IVR service can yield the most amazing results.

And while you may worry that it’s difficult to get oodles of data shipped into the system, it’s really not. There are so many mechanisms to output data: web services, APIs, batch files, FTP, and regularly scheduled exports from CRM and e-commerce systems.

Many of these methods are low cost and easy to achieve, leaving you plenty of choice. As is often the case, the truth of a good solution lies in compromise between your objectives, the available data, and how much set-up costs. And that’s where we come in…

About Horizon IVR, from HTK

Horizon IVR harnesses data about each customer in real time to provide a dynamic, adaptive and personalised call experience. It’s cloud-based, fast to implement and doesn’t require on-site hardware or complicated technical integrations with telephony systems. All it requires is calls forwarded to the platform.

Fast, efficient and relevant customer experiences… that’s absolutely what we do. We work with clients such as O2 Telefonica and Specsavers to identify their business goals and objectives.

HTK Clients - O2, Derbyshire County Council, Specsavers and SEPA

We utilise our years of expertise to enable IVR experiences that our clients shouldn’t dare to dream were possible. We add layers of value and insight to continually improve our flexible, adaptable service, and provide content improvements that will result in happy customers, increased revenue, greater cost savings and contribute to CSI and churn reduction.