Even the mere mention of the acronym is enough to make one cringe. We’ve all had less-than-stellar experiences interacting with a robotic, impersonal interactive voice response. Be it the endless menus, the hunting and pecking for options on the keypad, and worst of all, the failure of the system to understand your request, is enough to drive even the calmest person crazy.
The truth is, when someone contacts your call center, they demand (and deserve) time and attention, and if these expectations are not met efficiently it can be costly. Despite this, call centers continue to use IVR technology, as it is widely considered to be a necessary evil. It can drastically improve the efficiency of call routing and thus putting callers in contact with the right agents, a critical piece of the customer experience.
Although an IVR is highly praised from a call center perspective, it doesn’t change the fact that callers strongly dislike interacting with them. Luckily, the modern call center is changing as technology improves and becomes easier to use. Just look at call-back solutions, a once desired, nice-to-have is now absolutely mandatory in the call center realm. So, rather than completely roasting IVRs, below we discuss warning signs that it might be time for an upgrade.
Losing Customers in an IVR Abyss
An IVR system that’s difficult to navigate is a recipe for failure. Placing the caller in no man’s land after lengthy prompts can irritate the caller to the point where they’ll just hang up and bring up their issues on social media instead. Spend some time experiencing the IVR prompts for yourself; if they seem too long, work to reduce. If your archaic system has too many restrictions, then you’re clearly due for an upgrade. Tip from the top: Be sure to include the IVR experience in any of your VOC programs so you can monitor and admire your improvement.
Zeroing Out – Because it’s the Easy Thing to Do
You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken. If customers are “zeroing out” so they can speak to an agent, it’s likely due to a problem with your IVR. A clear sign of zeroing out will be based on your containment rate – the amount of customers who abandoned or transferred out of the IVR to speak with an agent. An upgraded IVR will provide visibility and analytics so you can see where your containment is suffering.
Agent Fatigue and Low Morale
Your front-line staff are just as important as your callers. Perhaps you’re not lucky enough to hear directly from your customers, but you can at least get feedback from your CSRs. If agents are telling you that customers are complaining about the interaction with your IVR, an issue with routing, or the amount of prompts contained in the message, don’t take it lightly; take it to heart and let that propel you into action. Your agents get the brunt of IVR-related complaints, among others, and can be a huge resource for customer feedback. Use their feedback as a way of gauging whether you should bring change to your current IVR infrastructure.
Lacking Critical Features
There are all sorts of features and capabilities that the modern IVR can offer. So, if you’re butting heads at a boardroom table over a problem and find yourself answering, “our IVR can’t do that”, it’s likely a sign that you need to upgrade. For example, machine learning capabilities allow you to predict why a customer is calling, and analytic capabilities let you identify telephony-based fraud. These are just a few examples of some of some of the features that might be critical to your call center. If it makes a difference to the experience and your overall performance, consider the upgrade.