Search Engine

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

5 Ways to Improve Your IVR and Retain Customers

5 Ways to Improve Your IVR and Retain Customers

Lately, I have had to make many calls to different companies to resolve customer service issues. As usual the front door is always an IVR and it causes a lot of grief and headaches. Most companies have the IVR set up incorrectly which further infuriates the caller. A positive customer experience creates a longer lasting customer relationship. It’s the stickiness that keeps customers coming back if you make the self service application easy to use.

The main thing that all contact centers need to do immediately is remove the “WE ARE EXPERIENCING A HIGHeR NUMBeR OF CALLS THAN USUAL SO WAIT TIMES MAY BE LONGER”. Really? You may mean to say we only have 2 agents in the ACD queue so please be very very patient this evening while we take our time processing your call. Then you always hear “YOUR CALL IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US”. Really? You may mean to say if it was important you would have been answered on the first ring.

The days of 80% of calls answered within 20 seconds are over. 20 seconds is 3 ring cycles.

Now when you call if you hear clicking or a sudden drop in volume or a ring cycle then you know your call has left the country to be answered politely by hard working ACD agents in anther country. The interconnect lines are heavily compressed making it hard to understand them These agents basically will never have the tools or access to information that can help you due to security measures. Best to hang up and try again later. Trust me they cannot assist you in any way.

IF I PUNCH IN MY ACCOUNT CODE OR CELL PHONE NUMBER DO NOT ASK FOR IT AGAIN? This means they only make you punch in the digits to annoy you because the agent has no clue who is calling.

When in doubt always press zero or use a rotary telephone. Then you don’t have to worry about punching any digits in.

NEVER EVER tell the caller to go to the website for inquiries as my mother doesn’t have a computer. She is calling the IVR because that’s how she does her inquiries.

So here are 5 simple and common sense ways to improve your IVR system so that your callers will have a much better customer experience.

1. Define the purpose of the IVR

It’s a tool and will enhance the self service experience of the caller. A sales queue needs different treatment than a service queue. If the average sale is $100 then every lost call is lost revenue. Yes, they won’t call again. Teens have no patience for this.

If its service related and there is an outage then play the message up front telling the caller that.

2. Keep It Simple Sir

Keep it brief and simple up front with no more than 3 options to choose from. The reason you press 9 to repeat the menu tree is because there are 8 items and the caller can’t remember which menu number he needs anymore.

Make sure it’s relevant to the caller and he is experiencing the right information for the service he is calling.

3. Branding and Marketing

Remember, the IVR is the front door and a welcome to the caller. Here is a chance to use the right branding messages while they are on hold or going through the menu items. If there is a special sale then say it, if there is certain support issues then say it. Callers who get told information stay on the call longer.

4. IVR Applications that make Sense

IVR is just a tool and when designed properly it allows one to quickly get a bank balance, flight information, track a package or follow up on a service issue with a case ID. This as designed was to have less agents in the queue answers silly questions like “Do I have money in my account”. So gather the marketing and sales staff and work through some of their input in making an efficient IVR. They put on your blindfold and pretend you’re a harried housewife who is calling after a hard day and needs some customer service TLC.

5. Bottoms Up

Involve the ACD agents in refining the IVR. They handle hundreds of calls a day and they can tell you what callers want and how best to serve them and how to simplify their jobs. I would say their participation is mandatory in any design. Actually ask them to help design the call queues as well.

Make the IVR efficient and relevant and easy to use and your customers will thank you and stick around to buy more products form you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments