Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVR), otherwise regarded as Auto-Attendants, are systems designed to automate call processes. They help alleviate many of the burdens faced by both callers and receivers. However, if not appropriately incorporated into business operations, they may frustrate your customers, leave issues unresolved, and cause your business’ reputation to suffer.
Whether you’re proving your customers with the ability to pay their bills over the phone, or you need to handle the onslaught of inquiries during a power outage – having an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is integral to keeping things running smoothly.
There are numerous IVR solutions presently, making it relatively complicated for businesses to set up. Such complications may cause businesses to make certain mistakes that might make IVR systems less ideal for use. These mistakes can be problematic, often confusing or frustrating your customers. In the long run, repeated issues may affect your business’s reputation and cause you to lose loyal customers.
In this article, we have outlined common mistakes that companies make while implementing their IVR solutions. Being aware of these potential mistakes and how they can be avoided and/or rectified will help you avoid headaches and maintain a positive customer experience.
Offering Too Many or Irrelevant Options
Undoubtedly, it is essential to offer as many options as possible to your callers when designing an IVR solution for your business. However, there is a fine line between offering a variety of options and overwhelming your callers with excessive, superfluous, or even redundant options. Many business owners often find themselves caught in this trap.
Often, too many questions will confuse your callers, making them select the wrong option, thereby defeating the purpose of the IVR automated system. It’s also an easy way to frustrate customers seeking answers to certain questions about your service usage.
Hence, when setting your IVR system, ensure you arrange the menu options succinctly and appropriately. This way, it is easier for you to meet your customers’ needs as easily and quickly as possible.
Making Prompts Too Long or Complicated
Generally speaking, no one will call your business for fun. Typically, it is always to make further inquiries, provide feedback, or report an issue. All of which are time oriented. Therefore, you must ensure you can attend to your customers in real-time when setting up your IVR system. Your customers must be able to get assistance as quickly as possible, regardless of their issue or concern.
Hence, when designing an IVR system for your business, ensure your prompts aren’t too lengthy, complicated, or vague. Make them as precise as possible to avoid confusion and help serve your customers in a timely manner. Excessively long prompts may cause your customers to:
- Forget all available options
- Lose attention/zone out
- Select incorrect options, causing them to start all over again
No Call-back Option or Follow-up Surveys
Of course, IVR systems can’t always solve every possible query. So, what happens in that scenario? Does your customer leave without solutions to their issues? Do they have to call again after a specified period? Customers should always have the option to get a call-back. Perhaps they’ve exhausted the available options and need to speak with a live representative. Or maybe something came up, and they’re unable to sit on hold for 45 minutes. In these situations, providing your customers with the option to receive a call-back will greatly enhance customer satisfaction.
Additionally, not providing follow-up surveys is a frequent mistake several businesses make. Feedback is incredibly important in measuring your customers’ satisfaction. It’s also invaluable to helping tailor your processes for the best experience and results. Ask your callers if they are interested in offering feedback before sending them your survey/feedback form. Chances are, if you ask ahead of time, you’re more likely to receive completed surveys instead of blindly sending them and hoping for responses.
Talking with a Person is Too Difficult
Inevitably, a caller may need to bypass your IVR system and speak with an actual representative. The big question is, how quickly and easily can this be done? The sole purpose of an IVR system is defeated if your customers find it difficult to solve their problem without needing to speak with a real person. While the automated, self-serve options are sufficient in most cases, sometimes, they can be wholly unhelpful. This is particularly true when your customer has certain complex queries or needs to report relatively personal issues with your service. Your menu should always provide a clear path to speak with a live representative.
Poor Quality or Inconsistent Voice Recordings
Another problem you must avoid when setting up your IVR system is the temptation to record your IVR menu options in-house. While making your recordings in-house tends to be the cheapest option, it can come with its own set of problems.
Poor quality or inconsistent voice recordings may confuse your callers, making it hard for them to understand what your menu options convey. This may lead to frustration, anger, and an inability to resolve their issue. Obviously, you don’t want this to occur. Therefore, ensure your callers can easily understand your options by using professionally recorded instructions and prompts that are neither too slow nor too fast. High-quality voice recordings that seamlessly integrate formality and friendliness in their tones have proven to be the best. Avoid inconsistencies with the voice used and the volume of the recording. Otherwise, you might be intentionally setting your callers up for distraction and confusion.
Using Jarring Hold Music or Volumes
No one likes to wait, especially within a phone queue. However, sometimes lengthy wait times are inevitable, especially when you have a large customer base. Another mistake you should avoid is making your callers’ queue experiences worse by using jarring hold music or repetitive and aggressive sales pitches. While sales-through-service can be a great marketing tactic, repeatedly playing marketing messages about your latest products/services when a customer calls to report a malfunction might not always be wise. Loud and/or inconsistent volume is also a common complaint from customers stuck on hold.
Therefore, prioritize moderation. Cheery, inoffensive music at a reasonable volume is recommended and in certain instances may even make customers forget how long they’ve been on hold.
Outage Management Integration
While most people probably associate IVR systems with automated customer service, bill payment and the like, these systems are also able to seamlessly integrate with Outage Management Systems (OMS). Milsoft’s Outage Management system allows utility customers to stay informed when there’s a local power outage.
The IVR system comes into play when a customer calls to report an outage. The geolocation of that caller is then recorded into the OMS software map which keeps track of all power outages in the area. If a transformer is out, Milsoft can pinpoint all the homes that are connected to that transformer and an automated call and email will be sent to all affected homes. This correspondence will include information such as where the outages are occurring, estimated times of restoration, and other outage-related information.
Customer engagement is the key to a solid relationship between the utility company and their customers. Factor is an alternative multi-media approach to facilitating two-way communication, and your communications tool kit is a huge success!
Milsoft Communications is designed to maximize customer engagement by delivering optimal and versatile communications tools. Contact our team of experts to learn more about IVR and how Milsoft can help you with its implementation.