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Apply These 6 Secret Techniques to Improve IVR

Apply These 6 Secret Techniques to Improve IVR

By: Aiza Gill

Have you been trying to figure out how to make sure that your IVR is working as well as possible? It can be pretty difficult to get everything working in such a way that makes sense for your specific call center, no matter what size it is.

That being said, there are some tips and tricks that just about any call center will be able to follow that can make your interactive voice response system run like a well-oiled machine. If you’re looking to get your system working as well as possible, it’s worth looking at our tips.

1. Make Sure to Add an Option to Talk to an Operator

Picture this, you’re making a call to a company that you either want to do business with or you need customer service with. No matter what you try, you can’t seem to figure out how to get an agent on the line. You’ve hit the 0 button numerous times and it hasn’t done anything. What do you do then? Do you:

  • Hang up, frustrated with the interaction?
  • Stay on the line and continue to follow the prompts? Or, do you
  • Decide that doing business with the company isn’t worth it at all?

There are a lot of callers that deal with this exact situation when they call into places, and you don’t want your company to be a company that does that. Including an option to speak with an operator as early as possible in the call can make a big difference.

2. Decide What Tasks Can Be Handled by an Automated System

There are certainly some issues that you need to talk to a person about. If you have major customer service issues with a company, nine times out of ten you’re not going to get anything done without talking to an actual person. That being said, there are things that are better off being handled by an automated system.

For example, a lot of people would prefer to pay bills over an automated system rather than having to talk to someone just to have their bills taken care of. Some people just want to call to reorder their previous order and feel that talking to an agent would be a waste of both of their time.

3. Confirm Caller’s Language Early On

Making sure you know your caller’s language upfront is important, especially if you have agents that can speak a variety of languages. You’re probably familiar with the “Press 1 to continue in English” prompt in menus. If you don’t have that feature but you do have bilingual reps, you’re missing out on critical support for people that don’t speak English.

Getting this information before the call begins can make a big difference in the long and short run. It can leave your non-English speaking clients feeling more well cared for, which can help you maintain their business for a longer period of time or even convert them.

4. Include an FAQs Menu

Some information doesn’t require talking to a person, and for those things, you can have an FAQs menu available. Of course, most companies provide this kind of thing on their websites but many people don’t know how to use the internet. Here are a few examples of things you can include on your FAQs menu:

  • Business name
  • Hours of operations
  • Address or addresses of locations
  • Current specials or deals going on
  • Any changes in the standard business hours

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You don’t need to include a lot of information in the FAQs, just enough for people that needed a simple question answered to be able to get the information they wanted and go about their day without having to talk to someone.

5. Be Direct and Simple

While there are a lot of people that fully understand how to use automated systems and vocal response systems, there are some people that get confused pretty easily. Because of this, you’re going to want to make sure that your instructions are as clear as they can be.

It can be pretty tempting to include complicated instructions in your menus, but the more concise you are the fewer people you’ll get calling back with frustrations.

6. Regularly Test the System

Testing, testing, testing. You need to test your phone systems if you’re going to have any hope of it working well for your callers. There are a lot of ways that you can do this, here are a few of the most simple ones:

  • Calling your phone number and testing every single phone tree to make sure the extensions go where they’re supposed to go.
  • Looking through the system on the software side to make sure that there is nothing going wrong.
  • Performing test calls on your agents to make sure they know what they’re doing.

All of these are required for making sure that you have a call center that is running smoothly and doing these at least once every couple of months should generally leave you in good condition.

Get the Most Out of Your Interactive Voice Response System

Plenty of call centers use interactive voice systems (IVR) in this day and age. If you want to get an edge over your competition, the key is knowing how to use it well so your customers can be as happy as possible with how their calls go.

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