Is your IVR perceived and a confounded machine
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EasyIVR is the IVR and Voice Broadcasting service division of Database Systems Corp.

The following section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Development and custom IVR software and products. The PACER and WIZARD IVR System is just one of many DSC call center phone system features..

What is IVR Software?. 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.

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

IVR Perceptions

Page 4
By Ascent Group, Inc.

An Extract from IVR Improvement Strategies,
A new research report published by the Ascent Group, Inc.


    1. IVR implementations must be reflective of customers’ values and expectations. It is critical that you understand and incorporate your customers’ needs and expectations into your IVR applications. Customer research through phone and mail surveys or focus groups can confirm fundamental needs and expectations. Further testing of IVR prototypes and subsequent enhancements can ensure that customer needs are met.

    Research from prior Ascent Group IVR Benchmarking studies confirmed that “best-in-class” companies conduct extensive customer research in conjunction with any IVR design changes or additions. Best performers use customer focus groups and other research methods to establish customer expectations and the demand for self-service options—to test design prototypes, validate scripting and prompts, and confirm menu options. Not just once, but over and over—every time a change or enhancement is considered. IVR applications are fluid systems and customer expectations are ever changing. Make sure you have the ability to continually monitor customer needs so you can meet expectations.

    2. Speech Recognition can dramatically improve IVR utilization, however, its implementation requires a different approach than touch-tone. Speech recognition adds another dimension to IVR design. The benefits of voice recognition-driven applications are enticing—higher usage, shorter call lengths, natural conversation interaction, and increased customer satisfaction. Forty percent of our participants have implemented some form of voice recognition in their IVR application. However, adding voice is not a simple enhancement. You just don’t take a touch-tone application and convert it to speech. Voice recognition systems present the ability to create a conversational IVR application—this is vastly different from a simple “press 1” application. Our panel reported a steep learning curve.

    Overcoming the learning curve and other challenges introduced by adding speech recognition is possible and rewarding. Our participants suggest the addition of speech to IVR applications has increased IVR utilization from 35 percent to 70 percent. Customers really like speech-enabled applications if it’s done correctly.

    3. Train Agents to Promote IVR Services. By far one of the most successful, and probably least expensive, educational efforts a company can undertake is to encourage call center agents to routinely suggest that callers access and complete transactions within the IVR. When appropriate, agents can inform callers that the transaction just completed with the agent could have been completed, without a wait, through the IVR.

    “Best in class” companies recognize that call center agents have a vested interest in helping customers learn how and when to use the IVR. As more callers are encouraged to use IVR applications, more time will be available to deliver truly exceptional customer service to other callers. All too often we hear of companies whose call center agents sympathize with caller complaints of how complicated or difficult the IVR is to operate. In some cases, the agent is encouraging the caller to call the call center directly and bypass the IVR completely. This usually occurs when companies haven’t taken the time to adequately train agents on the use of the IVR. The new technology has been implemented with the expectation that it will reduce call volumes and maybe even call center staffing. Agents, unless told otherwise, will naturally feel threatened by the technology. This anxiety will make it easier to side with unhappy callers and in some cases even bad-mouth the system. Companies should ensure that call center agents are proponents of the IVR. Call center agents need to be educated on IVR usage even more so than customers, especially if you expect them to recommend and encourage usage.

    4. Measure and Track IVR Performance. Build your IVR application so that it’s easy to dissect each application and track call flow, errors, voluntary and involuntary opt-outs and opt-out points, hang-ups, and success rates. Make sure that you can track the caller’s outcome—measure performance from the customer’s perspective—how it impacted what he or she was trying to accomplish. Take advantage of a service or tool to actively test and monitor your IVR applications. These services can point out application, network, and system inefficiencies and failures that you may not recognize or hear about from customers. These tools can also track transactions, system availability, and system reliability, and even test your applications under varying degrees of stress and at varying times of the day, week, month, and year.

    5. Monitor IVR Call Quality. You are asking technology to handle some of the same calls as your agents—monitor the call quality of IVR transactions similar to your agents. Have your call quality experts record and review IVR transactions to better understand the level of service that your IVR is offering your customers. This is especially critical for speech-enabled systems. Regardless of the channel, monitor the quality of each type of customer contact to make sure the quality is up to your standards as well as your customers. Make sure your quality standards are in alignment with your customers as well.

    6. Target Your Research and Promotional Campaigns at those Callers who Voluntarily Opt-Out or Frequently Talk with Agents. Talk to these customers to better understand why they are opting out. This research might yield insight that will better the design of your system or increase its functionality. Try a combination of agent promotion and a targeted mail or email campaign. Agents can point out the instances when it makes sense to use the IVR while the targeted campaign can reinforce the benefits. Customize the system, through dynamic menu options, if possible, to cater to these segments.

    7. Be Careful About the Information Provided. An IVR can be a tremendous help in relaying routine information to customers—office locations, phone numbers, payment options, energy-efficiency information…freeing up agents to handle more complex customer service needs. An outage status application is another excellent way to provide customer-specific restoration-status information to customers and possibly avert an opt-out or a follow-up call to an agent. But it must be done correctly and actually provide useful and accurate information to callers. Inaccurate information actually creates more calls into the center and angrier customers, perhaps more so than if they hadn’t had the information in the first place.

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