How to setup an interactive voice response system

Lost your Credit Card , still waiting for your order to be shipped, waiting for your lunch order long delayed- as a customer there is a strong urge to get resolution of your service request by calling up the company’s helpline number. It does not matter whether you are a Big organization or a Startup, Customer service is a non negotiable in building customer loyalty. In-fact having a reliable customer service centre to cater to post sales will also impact the purchasing decision of the prospective customer.

How can a IVR setup help businesses?
With the advent of Cloud telephony, Customer Service Helplines and Interactive voice response system(IVRS) have become a possibility for startups and Small & Medium Enterprises(SME’s) to maintain their competitiveness at an affordable price which was otherwise only within the reach of large organizations.
With increasing focus of companies on cost reduction and resource optimization, Interactive voice response systems aka IVRS has gained prominence as tools for self-help and automatic resolution of queries without human contact .This has been aided by customers who want quick redressal of queries and by companies wanting to automate most frequently enquired queries under IVRs primarily aimed at customer delight and better utilization of Manpower. .

What is an Interactive voice response system(IVRS)?
An IVR technology basically assists the caller through a series of pre configured prompts. Having a dynamic Interactive Voice Response system is the first step towards realizing the above goal of High Customer satisfaction with Low agent interaction.The objective of having an efficient IVR system is to see that the customer’s requests are addressed over the voice system promptly without having to talk to the agent and be transferred only when the customers request falls outside the menu options .Having said that - It's imperative that the Interactive Voice response system is intelligently built to address customers queries over the menu options. Having realized the potential benefits of having IVRs in your customer service it's essential to also have an efficient ivr system in place.

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An observation of the above image would reveal that the Self Help options provided to the customer can either frustrate him- when they fail to resolve his queries or can Delight him -if the queries are promptly answered. This would go a long way in shaping the customers brand perception. Hence the Goal of IVRs as Self Help Menus should be Customer Delight.
Lets look at few factors that are to be considered while Setting up the IVR:
● Design for Your Customers’ Needs, Not Your Own - IVRs should be developed by evaluating the customer’s enquiry trends and should be suitably employed to handle most frequently enquired queries.
● Customer should not feel he is robbed of his time in guiding him through departments- providing up to 5 options in the top menu and upto 3 options in the sub-menu would provide a comfortable call experience to the caller.
● Design IVR flows consistent with the business objective- Scope of IVRs has today extended from handling customer queries to conducting surveys, scoring customer satisfaction, soliciting feedback from customers and encouraging referrals.
● Design of IVRs should be under Continuous Experimentation to make them more dynamic : One of the basic purposes of IVR systems is to help customers find answers to their questions and complete routine tasks on their own and hence should be under periodic reassessment to make them more customer friendly.
● Have Queue Positions/ Hold time prompts to allow customer make conscious choice to hold onto the call: It may so happen that the customer might be in an urgency and would like to make another attempt if he/she is made aware of the queue positions.
● Avoid navigating the customer through the entire IVRs only to tell that the contact centre is closed : It’s important to have your After Office Hours/ Holiday messages dynamically built in the IVRs to inform the customer firsthand during the call.
● Customers should love the IVRS service not loathe: Having the customer as the central focus would ensure that the IVR design is built to delight the customer and enhance your brand loyalty.!
Above mentioned Factors are few among many other associated factors depending upon your nature of business. However one thing that stands common is that Customer Satisfaction is the key towards enhancing customers brand loyalty and increasing your revenues per customer.

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