February 22nd, 2022

Top Five IVR Mistakes to Avoid for a Seamless Customer Experience

Discover the true potential of IVR while avoiding common pitfalls. Learn more in our comprehensive article.
Communication consultant

IVR can provide higher customer satisfaction, more efficient workflows, and time saved. There are many obvious reasons why your company should use IVR. But there are also some pitfalls you should avoid. Learn more about the dos and don'ts here.

In the present day, having an interactive voice response system (IVR) is essential for most professional businesses to manage inbound calls efficiently. While their main purpose is often to provide information about opening hours and direct calls to the appropriate person, IVRs offer a plethora of other valuable applications.

What is IVR?

An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is an automated telephone system that enables incoming callers to engage with a computerized voice menu using their phone's keypad. IVRs are equipped with various functions and predefined responses, which direct callers to the appropriate information. This collection of interconnected components is often referred to as a call flow or Private Branch Exchange (PBX), and it finds widespread application across diverse industries.

The utilization of IVR can be observed in several scenarios:

  1. Customer Support: Many companies deploy automated flows through IVR to help customers find answers to frequently asked questions as part of an omnichannel customer journey.

  2. Service Registration: Some businesses utilize the IVR system for tasks such as allowing customers to register information, for instance, recording electricity consumption details.

  3. Payment Verification: IVRs can be integrated with other systems to facilitate payment confirmation processes, streamlining and automating the verification of transactions.

What are the benefits of IVR?

Implementing an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system offers several advantages. Firstly, it saves time by automating call handling, directing callers to the appropriate personnel, and thereby increasing customer satisfaction. Additionally, certain IVR systems can even handle customer requests without requiring human intervention.

There are many ways to set up an IVR, which makes it possible to customize call flows in numerous ways.

Overall, IVRs are helpful in many ways. But there are some pitfalls you have to avoid when designing and configuring your IVR call flows.

1) Don't Let the IVR Replace Human Contact

People like to be met by people – and not a machine.

Prerecorded messages in IVR have their advantages. They work well for providing simple information like opening hours, generic FAQ and alternate contact methods. Handling generic FAQs? They excel at that!

However, when it comes to tackling more complex issues, relying solely on machines isn't ideal for maintaining high customer satisfaction. Human support is essential in such situations. Striking the right balance between automation and human assistance is the key to delivering exceptional customer experiences.

call center man woman

Let the IVR handle welcome greetings, routing of call flows, and generic requests (and don't compromise with the quality of the welcome message – this is the face of your company!), but don't underestimate the value of letting a human pick up the phone when needed!

2) Don't Lead Your Customers Through a Maze of Call Transfers

Press 1 if you… Biip… Press 5 if you… Biip… Press 2 if you… Maybe you're familiar with that process?

We've all been there, trying to reach someone to get our questions answered, only to be led through a never-ending maze of menus and call transfers. It can be beyond frustrating, especially when you accidentally press the wrong button and find yourself lost in the labyrinth.

All you want is a simple shortcut or a way to turn around, but instead, you have to hang up and start the whole process over, risking losing your place in the queue. It's a common mistake to press the wrong key, so it's essential to make it easy for callers to return to the main menu.

To improve the experience, try to streamline the menu options and limit the number of directions callers can choose. The more straightforward and clearer the menu, the less likely callers will feel trapped or confused. Let's make the IVR system user-friendly and efficient for everyone!

3) Don't Use the IVR as a Quick Fix for Handling Long Phone Queues

At first, replacing some contact center agents with an IVR might seem like a smart move to reduce expenses during a surge in inbound calls. And to some extent, it can be a practical solution. However, if you find yourself consistently facing long phone queues, it's time to reevaluate your IVR setup. You might need to fine-tune the call flow or even hire more agents to handle the volume.

Phone queues can be useful for call distribution, but it's crucial not to keep people waiting excessively. Long queues can lead to frustration, causing some callers to abandon their attempt to reach a human representative. And we definitely don't want to miss out on valuable conversations, right?

If you're dealing with prolonged phone queues, consider integrating your IVR with your outbound software. This way, you can provide an option in the IVR for callers to request a callback from an agent as soon as someone becomes available. This callback feature can significantly improve customer satisfaction and reduce wait times, creating a win-win situation for both your business and your customers.

Alternatively, you can track your unanswered inbound calls and put them in a callback campaign. Just make sure to make the callback! That way, you increase customer satisfaction and don't miss out on any calls.

4) Don't Make it Mandatory to Accept Call Recording

Indeed, IVR can prove invaluable when it comes to collecting consent for recording conversations. With just one click from callers before the call transfer, you can efficiently gather their consent. However, it's crucial to be mindful that not everyone is comfortable with the idea of being recorded, and it's essential to respect their preferences.

Unless recording the call is absolutely necessary, such as in emergency assistance situations, it's best to make call recording optional. Most IVR systems make it simple to implement.

By letting callers press a button to accept the call recording, you can ensure that you have the necessary documentation while still allowing individuals to decide whether they're comfortable with being recorded or not. This approach ensures a smooth and respectful process for both your business and your customers.

Learn more about how you can use call recordings to boost your performance.

5) Don't Forget to Adapt Your IVR Setup Based on Your Data

Making a standard IVR setup can work in some cases, but nowadays, there are many advanced ways to set up your IVR, so why not use this potential and create your own customized call flows based on the data you've got?

Failing to adapt your IVR setup according to data analysis may result in inefficient handling of inbound calls. In the worst case, this could lead to missed business opportunities or decreased customer satisfaction.

By analyzing your call data and evaluating your call flows, you can make informed decisions to optimize your IVR system. This ensures that your customers are seamlessly connected to the right person with minimal waiting time.

Embracing the advanced capabilities of IVR and leveraging data-driven insights will enable your business to deliver a superior customer experience and stay competitive in the modern landscape.


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