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IVR is Great - If You Understand the Customer
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IVR is Great - If You Understand the Customer

October 22, 2012

  By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Every business needs a mobile strategy, one that will keep the company in line with what they should be delivering their customers. To keep the strategy on track, it’s sometimes necessary to adhere to a few simple principles that can be agreed upon by the company and embraced by the customer. Sometimes these strategies involve Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions, but mobile applications are becoming the standard.

According to this Business2Community report, particular attention to customer service pushes brand loyalty better than just about any other business practice, and making the customer a part of the mobile strategy as it’s being developed is a move in the right direction for improving customer service.

It’s not unusual for IVR systems to create the type of relationship the customer prefers, but it’s not always the only solution. It’s critical to understand what other components of the strategy are integral in keeping the customer on board. To that end, it’s essential that the company study the customer and understand preferences.

One of the easiest ways to put the customer first in a strategy is to look deeply into the existing data on the customer. The mobile applications being developed should utilize the data to help streamline the customer experience.

With a design based on customer use, the mobile applications will become a natural extension of the company and the brand. The design should include elements that establish consistency across all platforms, and it should compliment what the company is already doing while giving more control to the customer.

Companies need to keep in mind that increasingly, customers are making their customer service calls from their mobile devices. By some accounts, more than half of all consumers will be behaving this way in the next few years – mobile applications should reflect that in their design. Furthermore, the mobile habits will inhibit more calls, which means the call centers should be well staffed with agents able to take those calls.

Consumers don’t like puzzles with many pieces as they attempt to access information on a mobile application. So for those companies who try to pack too much in to their mobile strategy solutions, they’re likely making it more of a task for their customers than they need to. A simple menu with quick links is generally the best choice.

The mobile strategies, whether it’s for an IVR system or a mobile application accessible by smartphone or tablet computer, should not attempt to answer every question a customer might have. However, drilling down on the data that the company has on their current customers should point them in the right direction for questions that come up most frequently and can be answered via mobile application.

It is this type of insight that enables customer-facing companies to realize a significant competitive advantage in their fields, enjoying the loyalty necessary for long-term success.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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