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IVR - Adapting Your IVR to Your Callers, Instead of the Other Way Around
January 11, 2012

Adapting Your IVR to Your Callers, Instead of the Other Way Around

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While it's never been more apparent that companies that provide excellent customer service thrive and companies that provide poor to indifferent customer service go bust, many organizations still don't see the “big picture.”

While everyone focuses on social media and how it can be harnessed for marketing purposes, too many companies forget their tried-and-true customer support media. It's great that you're integrated into Facebook (News - Alert) and have a social media plan. But are you still making customers wait in long queues when they call you? Are you still taking three days to respond to e-mail? Are you making sure you respond to all the e-mail you get? Finally, are you operating in 2012 with regards to your social media marketing and 1992 with regards to your IVR?

The humble interactive voice response (IVR) has been around for a long time. While once upon a time it was a big, expensive, awkward software solution sitting inside a big, expensive, awkward box in your IT room, the times, they have a' changed. While now your IVR is likely to be a cloud-based application that sits on your desktop, that's not necessarily going to help you, unless your IVR is set up to match callers' needs as closely as possible.

Too many companies fall down here, according to a blog post by David O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Interactive Digital and VUI Cloud. But getting IVR design right isn't much easier said than done.

Some companies hoping to keep their IVR as finely tuned (and customer friendly) as possible have turned to behavioral science to find out what works best for customers. Details such as how fast an IVR moves a caller through the paces can have a significant impact on the customer relationship. Let's face it: some people are fast and comfortable with technology and can tolerate an IVR that operates quickly. Other callers need a slower experience.

Interactive Digital recently conducted tests on callers and matched the speeds of the IVR to the caller's capabilities to interact with it.

“As demonstrated with...empirical data we collected during these production tests, adapting audio playback speed to match the skills of individual callers as they progress through the dialogue tree of an automated phone call helps to leave the right final impression. That kind of impression in turn helps bring the caller back to the IVR the next time and, more importantly, back to the enterprise that supports it,” writes O'Sullivan.

While the benefits of the IVR (in a perfect environment) are well known to the call center industry, the drawbacks are almost as well known. If you can reap the rewards your IVR can provide while removing some of the roadblocks, you can drive more of your customers to it...without penalty or fear you'll alienate them in the end.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO, click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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