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There’s no denying that interactive voice response (IVR) has a pretty bad name. And it isn’t hard to understand why. In fact, according to the 2017 Aspect Consumer Experience Index, 39% of consumers would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service via IVR.
We’ve all been there. You just want your problem resolved. You need someone to listen to you. Instead, you’re forced to trawl through seemingly never-ending menu choices, only to find that the IVR system can’t understand what you’re trying to say. Finally, you end up in a 10-minute queue to speak to a customer service representative – a frustrating customer experience.
The message is clear: bad IVR is bad for business
However, that isn’t to say that IVR isn’t worth the investment. Done right, it ticks the ‘lower costs’ box as well as the ‘boost CX’ one. And businesses the world over are cottoning on, with the market predicted to reach $5.5 billion by 2023.
Which makes it all the most surprising that some well-known brands are failing to deliver a seamless IVR experience. Their customer experience is strong across every other channel, but their IVR falls short.
‘Why?’ I hear you cry. Simply, because they’re not making the best use of their data. As with all communication, you’ll impress customers and deliver a positive experience when you use data intelligently to accurately predict what they want.
IVR helps you deliver a real-time customer experience, cost effectively
In these days of high customer expectations, real-time interaction is vital. In fact, according to a recent Salesforce report, over 60% of consumers expect it.
Customers are looking for exceptional service, whatever their choice of communication channel or device. They expect you to know why they’re contacting you and they want you to solve their problems, fast. And, most important of all, they want to feel good about their interaction with your brand.
But if you needed an actual human person to handle every real-time complaint, imagine the resource cost. It’s simply not a sustainable approach.
To achieve this level of service – and to deliver it cost effectively – you need a well-rounded communications strategy. Digital disruptors are increasingly offering customers a self-service option which encompasses some form of modern IVR. Fail to do so and you risk being left behind by your tech-savvy competitors.
Use data intelligently to ensure your IVR makes friends not foes
So, what does a positive IVR experience look like?
How about this? Not only is your IVR able to greet your customer by name. It knows all about their recent purchases and has a good idea of why they’re contacting you now.
Or maybe this? Your IVR doesn’t inundate your customers with options, but rather offers guidance if it’s needed. And, if it’s unable to resolve the issue, it quickly puts the customer through to someone who can.
Or this? Your customer receives a notification about an account issue that needs resolving. The IVR verifies their identity and enables them to solve the problem without having to speak to a customer service representative.
Or even this? Using data, your intelligent IVR can inform a customer of a relevant promotion and encourage them to take action. It’s proactive, in other words.
Impressed? Your customers will be.
IVR done right – Our work with Sainsbury’s
We worked with Sainsbury’s to rebuild its customer engagement capabilities across its network of 600 superstores, integrating IVR into its in-house systems – enabling more data to be connected via our secure APIs.
As a result, customers can find answers without speaking to a customer service representative. They’re also able to obtain speciﬁc store data across other channels of communications – SMS messages, for example – allowing Sainsbury’s to scale its solution to customer requirements.
With access to real-time live dashboards and MI, Sainsbury’s has developed a thorough understanding of the customer journey – empowering the retailer to change the way customers receive the information they’re looking for.
Deliver a personalised customer experience for IVR success
Everybody’s different. What one customer loves, another may find frustrating or insulting or just plain annoying. And it’s this failure to recognise people’s differences that has been the downfall of many organisations’ forays into IVR.
To deliver a successful IVR strategy, your technology needs to treat people differently based on their previous interactions with you. In other words, it needs to be personalised to their needs, using historical data from every communication channel to streamline their experience. What’s more, it should recognise when enough is enough and put them through to a member of your team.
Exceeding customers’ expectations – fast and with the minimum of fuss – is crucial in today’s marketplace. To do this, you need to deliver personalised and consistent communication across every channel – ensuring that your IVR technology complements and supports the overall customer experience.
To learn more about how Engage Hub can help you rebuild your customer engagement capabilities, get in touch.