September 13, 2012
Call Flow Design Critical to IVR Success
Did you ever wonder why some experiences with interactive voice response (IVR) systems seem to go so painfully, yet you breeze through others with no troubles? Why sometimes you seem to be stuck in an endless call loop that brings you nowhere and ultimately terminates your call, leaving you steaming, and other times, a few voice commands or presses of a button on the dial pad take care of your issue quickly and efficiently? Let's not fool ourselves - we've all asked this question before, and frankly, we haven't stopped.
The reason behind the pain (or lack of pain) is due to call flow, otherwise known as one of the most critical components of designing an IVR application. A call flow is a graphic and written representation of the various functionalities and options available in an IVR system. The call flow identifies features as well as prompts and menus that direct users towards a variety of options. In other words, it’s the “map” that navigates a caller’s journey through the IVR system.
Even if you manage a call center, it’s possible that you have little to do with your company’s IVR solution or application. In the days of old, the only people who understood the IVR – and could make changes to it – were lurking in a chilly data center somewhere, unwilling to communicate the mysteries of the IVR system to you or nearly anyone else, and certainly unwilling to share the complexities of call flow design with you.
Those were the old days when an IVR was a dusty box that sat in the back of your IT room, and administration of it was so painful it was done as little as possible.
Today’s IVR applications bear little resemblance to the bulky, dusty servers of old, and designing call flows is now a process that is so easy, even people with limited technical background can do it. According to a recent blog by IVR solutions provider Plum Voice, what call center managers see today when they build their call flow are icons representing each audio prompt. Between the icons are connecting lines that show all the relationships between the various prompts. A call flow maps out the various paths a user may follow throughout the course of a call. A well-designed call flow will account for an array of potential scenarios that will enable callers to easily access the information they need in a fast and efficient manner.
A high-performing and well-implemented call flow is a critical component of any quality IVR system, according to Plum Voice, because it directs and dictates every interaction the caller can have with an application. It is critical to have a well-planned call flow in place that guides a caller through an IVR app without frustration…essentially keeping your customers out of “IVR hell.”
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo