Interactive Voice Response is the full name for the shortened term IVR. Millions of Americans interact with IVR on a daily basis in the modern era. For example, when you call a utility provider to pay a bill a virtual assistant asks you to verify a phone number attached to the account and then provides you with options such as “Press 2 for billing.” IVR helps businesses direct calls from consumers so they are dealt with quickly and efficiently. What conversion benefits does IVR offer and what are some best practices you can put in place for your own IVR system?
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Benefits of IVR
There is a long list of benefits you could rattle off that point to the value of IVR. Not all of those benefits would necessarily apply to every business. For example, IVR can make it easy for some service-based businesses to quickly process payments. This very directly impacts conversion rates for businesses because consumers are calling specifically to pay a bill or invoice. Rather than wasting time waiting for an associate to talk to directly, the consumer can push a few buttons on the phone and then provide a credit card number to pay a pill. It’s that quick and easy for the customer and your business never directly speaks to them during the payment process.
Arguably the greatest benefit of IVR is its ability to qualify leads. Again, this can be done without an associate picking up the line. When callers are provided a handful of suggested options to route their own call, your team spends less time on the phone figuring out what the customer needs and more time actually helping meet that need. With IVR, by the time a consumer talks to someone that individual knows exactly why the person called and can act to help them quickly.
Now that you know the benefits of IVR, what are some of the best practices you can follow to set up an effective IVR routing system?
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Best Practices for IVR Design
IVR is a customer-facing aspect of your business and it is important that it is easy to navigate and simple to use. This starts with the use of conversational context. Make sure that the recordings for each step avoid industry jargon and offer short, succinct options for customers to listen to. Additionally, consider using professional voice talent for your recordings. The prompts should be clear and positive in nature so there is no confusion for the listener. A professional voice also gives your brand a good image in the mind of the caller.
Make sure that you modify IVR branches within your system based on popularity. If you’ve received feedback that certain prompts are too long or too confusing, make sure to adjust those branches or remove them altogether. Remember, IVR should be simple and easy by design. You want to vet the caller before they reach a human voice, but you don’t want to waste their time or have them give up out of frustration.
Finally, consider building a multi-channel approach to IVR. A growing technology within IVR is the ability to provide a better format to collect detailed information from the caller. Calls don’t convert well when complex information is requested via IVR. Button-based IVR is simply not equipped for collection complex information and speaking into the phone often leads to frustration as the IVR misunderstands what the caller is saying and it slows down the IVR routing process.
Instead, consider adding technology that can send the caller a link. The individual can follow that link to provide more complex information and then continue the IVR trip without having to push a number of different buttons or try to talk to a recording.
These tips don’t represent a comprehensive IVR system setup. It is important for your company to build an IVR system that works in your industry and for your callers. These tips will, however, help get you started.
Read More: How Custom IVRs Can Boost Brand Recognition