There have been many excellent developments in communications that benefit businesses in a fashion we could not have imagined just a couple of decades ago. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is one, and it should be of paramount influence on any call center operators.
What is IVR and why might it benefit you? We’re going to try and answer that question as well as others that are relevant to the subject in this article, so let’s start by looking at the reasons why call centers and other commercial entities are increasingly turning to IVR as a solution.
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Why You Might Need IVR
To explain why IVR may be of use in call centers and many businesses, we only have to look at the current state of affairs in commerce in many countries across the world for a clue. The covid-19 crisis caught everyone unawares. It left many businesses with no option but to close doors and instigate remote working practices. And, perhaps more than anything else, with people unable to meet face to face, the telephone has become the main source of vocal communication.
Call centers have been inundated with traffic thanks to becoming the first point of contact, and telephonists have found they are suddenly at the forefront of the daily workings of many businesses. IVR has become the main feature in many of these instances thanks to its superb levels of efficiency, customer friendliness, and ability to handle some of the traffic that would otherwise be kept waiting.
It’s not just when there’s a crisis that IVR can help. In normal daily business, an IVR system can take a lot of weight off the hands of the receptionist and can also help calls get to the right place instead of being passed from pillar to post. This enhances the consumers’ brand loyalty – knowing they will be put through to the right department without a 20-minute wait is a bonus in anyone’s book! Now that we know what IVR is about, let’s have a look a what it does and how it works.
What IVR Can Do for You and How It Works
To utilize IVR when a call is answered, the caller will be asked to state the department they want to talk to or the problem they are facing. Voice recognition has come a long way in recent years and developments in the technology mean that misunderstandings between the caller and the IVR – essentially AI – are few. Most systems have the option to revert to the familiar touch-tone selection technique if the voice recognition fails, so there is a fall-back option there.
The routine may run as follows: a caller rings to enquire about the balance on their account. Upon answering, the IVR asks them what their inquiry is about. When the caller replies ‘account balance’ the voice recognition picks up both words and routes the call to the appropriate agent. This rids the caller – and the business – of the wait for someone to answer, cutting down on-call time and de-cluttering the incoming call system at the same time.
The advantage of a workable IVR system can clearly be seen from the above example, and this streamlined approach extends to people wishing to talk to every department from sales to IT and more. The system is programmed by the user to provide the right routing and the best IVR solutions are highly versatile and very effective.
There are further benefits to an IVR system. These include the ability to take calls out of office hours and, should the call be an agent, route it to an on-call member of staff who will be able to deal with the problem. The system can also be used to provide advertising or the latest news to callers who are waiting, and to gather as much information as possible – name, address, account number, and so on – so it is all presented on screen when the agent answers the call.
Do You Need IVR?
If you are a call center operator or run a business that takes a large number of incoming calls then an IVR system will certainly help your customers get to the person they want to talk to. The knock-on effect of this is not only time saved all-round, but greater trust between business and customer. If you still have questions about IVR then get in touch with us right now and one of our team will help with any questions you may have and advise as to the best way forward.