Top companies know the number-one question they should always ask: “How can I provide the best customer experience (CX) possible?” The simple answer is to streamline – whether friction, confusion, or waiting time, the goal is to keep things simple, elegant, and quick.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is the perfect solution. By routing customer queries and concerns through an automated response tree, the potential for human misunderstanding is practically eliminated – isn’t it? Sadly, not all IVRs are built the same.
Many organizations trying IVR out for the first time think it’s advantageous for their IVR to present callers with many options they can choose from via the simple push of a button. Such a strategy demonstrates how wonderfully willing, ready, and able your company is to handle customer concerns.
However, being given too many options can be confusing and frustrating, especially if the desired option becomes lost, through the long recitation of numbers and corresponding meanings (“I was pretty sure I needed to dial ‘1’, but I wanted to listen to the other options, to be safe – and now I don’t even remember what dialing ‘1’ means!”). It might also take too long to get to the option you’re looking for. (“None of the choices I’ve heard so far match my issue, but I’ve been listening for two minutes straight already. This is a waste of my time!”)
A superior approach would be to ensure that the IVR presents the fewest, most apparent options possible and delivers them with speed and ease of understanding. Even better would be an IVR that eliminates the need for button-pressing altogether.
The ideal solution is an IVR that can deliver a friendly greeting—immediately followed by an effort to reach out and understand the customer’s concern (“Hello! How can I help you today?”)—and is equipped to guide the customer along a dialogue tree, without the necessity of button-based input. If the customer only has to state their query or request aloud (“I would like to update my contact information”), there’s no need to wait around, process and make use of a long list of choices, or even reach out to touch the right button.
IVRs that meet customers’ needs with minimal friction make interactions seamless and easy, rather than the stereotypical, dreaded, time-devouring customer service call.
Even when it comes to transferring the call over to a human agent, an effective IVR can ensure a smooth transition, automatically detecting when it’s time to bring in the experts (without forcing the customer to seek out the option themself) and resolving the majority of more specific concerns in advance.
While the perfect IVR might seem, at a glance, to be whatever minimizes the human aspect of dialogue, the truth is that an ideal IVR minimizes human difficulty and error, making it easier, quicker, and cleaner for people to get the services they need.