May 09, 2012
Five Mistakes to Avoid with the Hosted IVR
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor
The interactive voice response (IVR) system in place for any organization serves to automate many of the common processes and questions customers have to improve the overall experience and the reduce the cost of customer care. When the IVR is not implemented or managed effectively, however, failure can occur. Whether using a hosted IVR or in-house solution, there are five things to avoid to ensure success.
A recent USAN (News
) white paper, Five Ways IVR Systems Fail
, provides this insight, first looking into identification and authentication. Even the hosted IVR system that fails to correctly identify the caller and verify that identification puts customer and proprietary information
at risk. It’s important to assess the sensitivity of the information and design the IVR system accordingly.
Second, a successful hosted IVR does not have confusing menus. If a caller cannot quickly get to the information or transaction type they want, they could just end the call and turn to a competitor. Likewise, if the menu is confusing or requires too many steps, the call could also be abandoned. A good rule is to limit the IVR to no more than five options
. If additional choices need to be made available, organize them into sub-menus and categorize them under the five available options.
The hosted IVR could also fail if it doesn’t offer the task the user needs. It’s critical that an organization study the intent of the majority of their callers and design the IVR according to those demands. Standard requests should always be included and offer the ability to connect with a live agent when the task is too complicated for the automated approach
If a customer doesn’t know their required task is available in the hosted IVR system, this can also create failure. If every caller were to complete the identification and authentication step of the hosted IVR just to zero out to access a live agent, the organization wasted money on the IVR implementation. Always provide that information to the caller immediately to avoid unnecessary agent connections.
The final, and most difficult, failure of the hosted IVR is when the customer doesn’t trust the technology. Even if the customer knows they can get what they need through the IVR, if trust is lacking, they will click through to the agent anyway. Communicate to callers that they don’t have to wait for an agent and can find the information they need through the automated system. If this step is combined with accurate menus and simple navigation, that trust is likely to build.
While not all questions should be answered through the hosted IVR and at times a live agent is the most appropriate option, the automated platform serves an important purpose for organizations seeking to streamline operations. The only way to truly leverage this value, however, is to avoid these five mistakes.
Edited by Juliana Kenny