what is IVR

IVR is an abbreviation of interactive voice response. It is merely a system which reads a list of choices or menu when you are on a phone call. Also, based on the input made by the caller, it diverts the call to the ideal person or the next level of menu choices. Since the 80s, IVR remains to be a section of many excellent business phone systems. But, the technology linked with creating an IVR system to some degree became affordable after the millennium. From that time, IVR has undoubtedly become a significant part of the inbound call process for nearly all organizations around the world. Irrespective of this, do callers love moving through an IVR when calling your helpline? What makes people hate your IVR encounter? Could it be possible it’s an old feature making people dislike it?

We shall answer all of the above in this article, starting with:
What reason(s) made businesses to start utilizing IVR?

In the early 80s, the primary means of communication between enterprises and their clients was phone calls.  Besides that, the simplest methods to ask complain, or buy was via phone talks. A team of experts was attending on these phone calls, and they would start by greeting the callers, know their problem, and direct them to the appropriate team.  

However, many businesses termed this routing method as an ineffective means of attending to calls. Reason being, they wanted some generalists to receive the calls before diverting them to professionals. Nonetheless, this was an issue because the solution depended on the duration taken to connect the caller with an expert. 

How can you ensure people love your IVR encounter

IVR systems assisted callers to get connected to the ideal team based on their issue or question. Theoretically, the situation was a win-win one because businesses invested in hiring professionals, while callers had an opportunity to select the team to talk.

What is a normal IVR encounter? 

IVR systems usually let enterprises to make a welcome or greeting message service that gets followed by a menu of choices that are available for use to the callers. The menu states typically the issue/ department which the caller is trying to contact, alongside the action you need to take to make the routing complete.

An Example of an IVR system in action

We shall take an example of someone who wants to book a flight. The first thing to do is calling a travel agent or an airline of their choice for booking of a ticket. Immediately after the greetings, the phone system of the travel agent announces “please press 1 for a new flight ticket booking.”

Also, IVR systems can handle comprehensive use situations, where callers get directed to the following set of menu choices based on their previous decision. Therefore, an IVR menu should not end with an agent after pressing the end button. 

For instance, after verifying that a caller is looking for a new flight ticket, the phone system of the travel agent/ airline should go ahead and state “press 1 for booking of new domestic flights or press 2 for international flights.”

How can you ensure people love your IVR encounter?

Outstanding IVR systems assist enterprises in making either many-level or nested IVR menus. As a result, customers can select a particular agent from an appropriate team, who is perfect in providing solutions to their issues. 

Keep in mind that how businesses make their IVR menus determines how callers feel regarding their business or brand. For instance, owning over two nested IVR levels annoys many people. Similarly, reading over 5-6 choices in each level will piss off many people. 

Always remember that whenever someone is calling you, they are in search of the right solution from your team. Thus, they undoubtedly not ready to get lost in your IVR puzzle.

Here are best practices to follow (some or all) when making an IVR menu to handle your incoming calls:

Greeting text

  • Precise and direct messages.
  • Ensure the greetings comprises of these four major elements:
  • A short salutation.
  • The name of the company.
  • If available, the name of the person who answers calls.
  • An offer to help
  • The duration between your welcome text and final thought should be less than 45 seconds. If you have an extended IVR greeting, your interaction might be monotonous. Be brief and then move direct the customers to someone with a solution to their needs. 
  • Avoid the sales pitch. 
  • Avoid the usage of complex terms or words.
  • Never provide callers with actions before reading and confirming the menu. 

The IVR Flow

  • Although some customers are happy to use the self-service IVR, others opt to speak with a live agent. So, you should provide the caller with the choice of talking to someone whenever they want. Here are other primary pointers:
  • Do not test the patience of the caller by having over three menu steps. 
  • Have 4 or fewer choices at the first level, and not more than three in levels two and three. Having less time in every level followed by an inbound menu shows your business cares about the issues of the caller.
  •  Assign a specific keypress for directing the caller straight to the queue of contacting the support.
  • In case the caller keys in an invalid input, allow them to have several trials before you take them to the queue of live chat API.
  • Ensure the commands are consistent. For example, if 5 take them back to the menu before at one level, let it do so in all levels.

Wait for Music

  • The patience of a caller is put on hold by good wait music. Also, you can extend their wait time for another 30 seconds using different but better wait for the music. 
  • While the music is playing on the background, stating what is happening should be the first message. For instance, “Your call is on hold, but it will be answered shortly.”
  • Use news excerpts to intersperse music and messages. You can upload them daily to ensure they are different.
  • The music you use should be ideal for your brand, and provide an excellent feeling to your customers.

Will there be changes for future IVR for all businesses? 

Despite the standard IVR being around for long, the future for people linked with the phone industry is exciting. The main reason for the popularity and longevity of IVR is its self-service nature. Here are two things that will emerge in IVR systems of small enterprises:

  • Speech-activated IVR

Without any doubt, your business can change entirely if a voice-based assistant like Alexa gets replicated in your phone system. How would it feel if you dialed your business helpline and made your request or issue using your native language? It would be more exciting about getting connected to the perfect person to solve your issue.

  • IVR+ (your business software) merging

This type of amalgamation is known as a database dip. Irrespective of the software you are applying, you can modify the IVR system to put information in your database. As a result, you can get important information about a partner, customer, or prospect. Large organizations like banks use this method to get information about your card via the phone. However, this technology will soon be available for small enterprises around the world.

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