The IVR (or Automatic Voice Response) is a telephone system that lets callers interact with your company through either touch tone (using numbers on your phone) or speech recognition that despite their often bad reputation, they can be a very useful tool.
What is the purpose of an IVR?
There are often hundreds or thousands of staff that whilst they all work in the call centre itself, they are placed in different teams.
The teams are determined by the type of training the call centre agent has received as well as the level of experience they have.
The job of a call centre IVR is to enable you to connect directly to the call centre agent with the best skills and experience to help you.
The Modern IVR
While most systems are only programmed to give callers number based menus (press one for sales, two for service ) to connect you to the right agent, the modern IVR may not connect you through to anyone.
The IVR can now also be programmed to interact with a database to provide useful information such as account balances or power outage information to avoid having to speak to an agent at all.
Hell, you don’t even need buttons anymore with IVRs able to use Natural Language to direct callers to where they need to go.
What is a Natural Language IVR?
I know we just mentioned pressing a whole lot of buttons but the human race is getting increasingly lazy and if those few button presses can be annoying.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just say what you want and then get connected to the right area or receive the right information?
Well that’s exactly what natural language IVRs can do.
Just say what you need and presto! You’ll be connected.
Of course, the reality is that it’s not always 100% and if not set up correctly, it can be a very poor customer experience.
Should you use an IVR?
It’s difficult to give a black and white answer as ultimately it depends on a range of different factors and the type of customer experience you want to provide.
But consider this:
- If the only reason you have an IVR is to collect stats, then I would suggest you don’t use one.
- If regardless of the options selected by the customer they end up with the same call centre agent, then again, no.
- If you have staff with different skills and experience – absolutely.
- If there is information you can provide the customer without connecting them to an agent, yes.
Where can you get an IVR?
It depends how complicated you need it to be.
You can now get cloud-based IVR software for small businesses. Ring one number and then depending on the selection by the customer it can then direct the call to a mobile phone, a different desktop number etc.
If you want to start using things like queuing, skills-based routing, data lookup etc you will need an IVR that is connected to the core call centre technology known as an ACD.
Either way, we can help.
You can search our Business Directory to find companies providing IVR solutions (including that fancy Natural Language stuff) or you can use our free CX Connect Service and we’ll connect you to proven suppliers who can meet your requirements saving you time, money and stress!
What if an IVR could do both…