What is Interactice Voice Response IVR?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) an automated advanced telephony system technology that reads out a pre-recorded messages to guide the customer through a menu during a phone call and gathers the required information by allowing the caller to choose the correct option by key pressing.
IVR enables a pre-recorded voice for human interaction through voice and DTMF tones input via the keypad. This technology reduces human effort (cost saving for the organization) and gives the caller a better experience (some cases faster than the human option) by routing him to the exact option.
The voice on another end is pre-recorded or system-generated audio and the system directly or route calls automatically without a live operator. The caller may use either the phone’s keyboard or voice telephone input to create a certain outcome.
Benefits provided by IVR are multifold:
- No Manual Intervention:
IVR application allows businesses to set up a welcome/greeting message followed by menu mentioning the issues or queries that the caller might have or the problem caller is attempting to solve with the help of customer support. In many cases around 60% of the problems can be solved by IVR itself. This reduces the human intervention which results in reducing the need for extra manpower thereby saving the cost and time as well.
- Multi-Language Capability:
IVR can also support multiple languages without hiring people who speak different languages.
- 24×7 Operation:
The cost of providing 24×7 operations in a manual mode as against 9×5 operation is around 5 times. But, with IVR there is only a marginal cost increase to provide 24×7 services.
- Improved Company Image:
The organization behind an IVR always sounds to be a very professional company and it helps to improve the brand image of the organization.
Types of IVR System:
IVR may be activated in two manners:
- Inbound IVR:
Inbound IVR is more common, where the customer calls a particular number and then the IVR is activated.
- Outbound IVR:
Outbound IVR is where the system calls the customer and the IVR is activated. This can happen for feedback polls, surveys, lead generation, etc
Applications of IVR:
- Call Center IVR
Call centers are implementing IVR to improve customer experience. IVR gives the option of choosing either a self-service or call an agent for inquiries. In many cases, like e.g. getting the account information, the customers want to get the account information quickly. IVR is much efficient than the human interface in such cases.
Customers can even request a callback and the scheduled call back option is also available within the IVR phone system for better customer satisfaction.
IVR contributes to improving the customer experience in the following ways.
- Efficient Call Routing:
The built-in call control feature of the IVR system first gathers the information from the caller and then routes it to the self-service steps or to the call center representative, who will attend the caller issues accordingly.
The well designed IVR results in reduced holding time significantly. It will also increase customer satisfaction and quality of service.
- Automated Self Service
Automated Self Service is the best option for call centers/businesses to improve customer service. Self-service can be availed by the caller without interacting with humans and it is available 24 X 7.
- Advanced Speech Recognition
With advanced speech recognition, the customer need not key in the inputs but can answer in his language. This option will be much more convenient for older people, or to get some information while driving, etc.
- Personalized Caller Information
The IVR may also identify the customer and provide ready information based on his background.
Some domains, where IVR is commonly used are:
- Healthcare Industry
With the growing competition in the healthcare industry, they are also focusing on marketing and customer satisfaction as Customer service plays a major role in retaining customer base and acquire new customers.
Hospitals are using IVR for the satisfactory survey of patients, reminders of upcoming appointments with doctors, marketing programs with hospitals, pathological test reports.
- E-commerce Companies
E-commerce companies have already seen tremendous growth in customer retention by using IVR for feedback, informing buyers about order status, complaint registration.
- IVR in Restaurants
As reserving tables online through apps has gained popularity, the same way restaurants are also implementing IVR to take orders and customer’s feedback.
It helps restaurants to reduce the human effort and also improves the customer experience by saving their time for ordering.
- Banking Sector
The banking sector is most effectively implementing the IVR in their system by automating the process of answering customers queries. General doubts like inquiry, loan status, credit card bill, account balance information are handled by IVR without human intervention.
- Railway and Flight Ticketing
Ticketing systems can also provide the ticketing status, flight status, etc using IVR systems.
Future of IVR System:
IVR will become a vital element of customer interface in the next decade. The drivers are:
– The increasing cost of human participation: Salaries are going up in all domains and especially base salaries are increasing.
– Advanced Technologies: New technologies in speech processing and AI makes it possible for creating a near to human experience for customers using IVRs.
Some of the emerging technologies for IVR are:
– Speech Recognition: enables customers to speak in their language and system to recognise their requirements.
– Natural Language Processing: helps to identify the original intent of the customer and match it with support the system can provide.
– Machine Learning: is a division of AI, which consists of systems which can learn and satisfy the customer needs. Many of the chatbots are built on this technology.
Days are not far away that the IVRs will pass the Turing test, and therefore will replace the human interface for customer queries completely.
There is no guide to provide superb global support. It is dependent on your relationship with the customer. You may not be able to afford an international community of support reps. However, by implementing IVR you can turn the complicated process of customer support into a smooth & efficient experience. IVR can also help in providing multilingual customer service by routing the calls according to language.
So whether looking to improve your customer support process or reduce the manual effort. astTECS IVR can help you accomplish your sales & support goals. For more information on how IVR can be implemented in your business communication process Contact us.