Four Steps for Improving IVR-Customer Interactions

Posted by Kathy Sobus on Mar 3, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Why don’t companies want to make their IVRs more profitable?

Let’s face it: It’s all about IVR containment rate, right? That’s really the game—or is it? Shouldn’t we also be concerned with customer satisfaction, first contact resolution, delight, effort, or whatever the latest trend is?

The answer is probably “yes” to all of the above. We should be concerned with both the containment rate and things like customer satisfaction. But why?

Truly, customers just want the answer, or resolution, to the situation when interacting with a contact center. Oftentimes, they have already tried finding the answer, and are now calling in as a last resort.

What if authentication was intuitive and could identify a known fraudster, while also ensuring that the intent of what the customer needed was “known”? What if they could telepathically have the answer, before they thought of the question?

OK, so maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let’s come back to the current year.

Think about your IVR. Take a moment and dial into it—chances are that it’s been a while since you have. Maybe you haven’t touched it since it was installed.

Now put yourself in your customer’s shoes as he or she dials into your IVR. Making a customer choose from a long list of options is a thing of the past, or at least it should be. If a customer has called in a number of times over the last few days about the same issue, he’s probably not happy having to make repeated calls. Yet now he has to withstand the same cheery prompts, trying to remember which prompt to choose, only to be transferred to some super-secret group that can “fix” his problem…

Let’s all hope his issue finally gets resolved this time!

Maybe your company is happy with the average 30% containment rate (70+% if you’re a financial institution), but did you ever stop to think about what a 1% containment rate could do for your business? And, better yet—if customer satisfaction improved as a result, could profitability increase, as well?

It’s certainly something to consider, but first, what can we do to make the situation as it currently stands better for customers?

  • Know what you’re putting your customers through—and review the process often, since customer—and business—needs change constantly.
  • Use some flavor of automatic number identification (ANI) recognition so that you can at least acknowledge when a customer has already called you multiple times.
    • If you’re really savvy, then you should send these customers to the super-secret group, bypassing everything else.
  • Use biometric authentication to streamline the interaction and detect fraud.
  • But above all else here, please, please fix the customer’s problem the first time.

If you follow these steps, you’ll realize that paying greater attention to the customer is the key to making your IVR more profitable.


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Topics: Customer Experience