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Tech Article - IVR systems interactive voice response

IVR Solutions

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Development and custom IVR software and products. Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country. The PACER and Wizard IVR systems add another dimension to our call center phone systems and solutions.

What Is IVR?. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either inhouse service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.

The following is an article relating to the IVR market including tips and best practices as well as product and answering service information.

IVR Hell

Bad experiences with your IVR system drive customers mad. Here's a checklist of dos and don'ts designed from a customer point of view.

by Natalee Dyke

Having worked in the retail industry for 11 years, my expectations for basic customer service are very high. I find myself rating the level of service I receive, whether I am at the grocery store or on the phone with a catalogue retailer. I almost pity the sales rep who has to deal with me because I expect the best. So when I am faced with an inadequate interactive voice response (IVR) system, I scrutinize it with the same intensity.

For customers, contact with a company's IVR system is the first impression they have of your overall customer service. A poor customer service experience will definitely send customers elsewhere.

Most companies see their IVR systems as a boost for business, and yes, IVR has been the saving grace for many companies. But with so many IVR options out there, who knows which one is best? Perhaps companies should evaluate a system from the customer's viewpoint, keeping these points in mind:

    Keep it simple, stupid.

    The average person has difficulty recalling more than four menu options. Don't have nine. Economize your options. Even when adding different levels to the menu, keep those to a minimum also. If customers must come armed with a pen and paper to write down all of the menu options so that they don't forget them, they feel frustrated.

    Give the opt-out option.

    Play fair. After all of the options have been given, customers may still have questions that can only be answered by a human being. Offer them the "press zero for the operator" option early in the game and from anywhere in the menu. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling trapped in the maze of an IVR system. Customers resort to pressing keys that take them to yet another long menu of options or the ever popular, "I'm sorry. You have made an invalid entry."

    Don't waste a customer's time.

    Many businesses ask a customer to supply an account number through the IVR system, which customers presume will speed up the transaction process, even if they are waiting for a live agent. More often than not, this is not the case. Customers are usually asked to re-supply their account numbers once the agent picks up. Don't ask customers for arbitrary information. Have a purpose for everything you request. Some account numbers are of a sensitive nature (social security numbers or phone numbers, for example). If an agent asks for an account number, make sure the information follows throughout the re-routing process. Failure to do so makes your company look insensitive and incompetent.

    Get feedback.

    If the goal of your company is to make customers happy, then why not ask for some feedback? Ask those who have to use the IVR system what they expect from your company. That would include both customers and customer service reps. Would they prefer to leave a phone number and receive a call back? Is there a reason why they abandoned a call? What would they like to see change? Is there something about the process or the system that they hate? Also, find out why so many callers need to speak to the live operator. It may be that the option they needed wasn't offered in the first place.

All of these questions could prove vital to the type of system you have or later implement. If the system isn't customer focused and extensively tested, then the same concerns you had yesterday will arise again tomorrow.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.