IVR is often the first interaction between a customer and an organisation. It can strongly influence the caller’s perception of a company through its personality and ease of use, delivering great benefits to both sides. Conversely, getting it wrong through poor implementation can be a real turn off for the caller, so getting it right is important. A good IVR should help a customer meet their needs by getting them to where they want to go. Here are some tips to make your IVR great
- Voice Selection:
This is highly dependant on what your organisation does. Things such as industry, location, whether they have a regional, national or global client base, whether your outlook is corporate or quite informal. Once that’s established and you are ready to create a good first impression, the next thing is know your clients and what their needs are. A funny example is a lingerie company with an IVR done by a mature man. This is not good marketing. Other considerations are
National accent vs regional accent – A local company operating in only one area will often want to reflect that in its on-hold messages. A local voice will therefore be the best match.
Male vs female – For example, police phone lines may use male voice messages because victims of crime find a male voice more reassuring when reporting an incident. In contrast, female voices may be more effective for customer-service IVR
Professional voice artist vs an employee – The employee is a cost saving option, however looking at it in the long run, giving your customers the best and most professional service will outweigh the saving.
2. Keep it simple.
One of the main issues customers have with IVR is the host of options it throws up, with some main menus running to seven or eight different points. Utilising current voice technologies can simplify complex menus into a single spoken response to the question. Rather limit to 4/5 options at most,
3. Use my language
It is usually best to use the universal language first which is English, then the second language as a translation if you are in a country like South Africa. The second language speaker usually already have a fair understanding of English so it will not be as much of an inconvenience for them as it would be vice versa.
4. Listen to your own messages.
Call your own organisation. Have the customer experience. Play all the options, remove the dumb stuff, stop any loops, duplications or dead ends.
5. Does it cater for everyone?
Most IVR’s only cater for clients calling in. Sometimes a delivery man is trying to gain access to your premise and decides to call reception for someone to open the gate but they are only being directed to queues for customer service with endless questions and re-routing.
6. Don’t block the exit.
Never prevent the caller from reaching an agent if they want to. This will only frustrate them making the interaction more difficult for the agent when they do reach them, if they reach them.
7. Make use of an IVR survey.
Think about using an IVR survey to measure customer satisfaction with your automated applications; it will be very interesting to hear what your customers actually think about the application rather than relying on one-sided anecdotal comments passed on to agents. Comments received in this way are always going to be one-sided of course because customers who have completed their business in the application and had a successful experience will not be put through to an agent to tell them how great it was.
8. Design it from the caller’s perspective, not your internal process.
Don’t ask for information that you are not going to use and ensure that any information you do collect gets presented to the agent handling the call along with the call. Time is money, these calls are costing the client money therefore the IVR should be short and to the point valuing their time over your internal processes.
9. Measure the drop-outs.
KPIs include where drop-outs are occurring because they are an indication of where customers are having problems, log the number of callers who follow each path within the IVR to help you in future designs.
10. Use a specialist company.
Use a specialist company to design the IVR application or to evaluate an existing application which may not be performing as successfully as it could be.