Interactive Voice Responses were designed to improve the way businesses handled inbound calls. They help direct callers to the relevant people or departments and reduce the frustration of callers being passed around. Therefore improving the companies efficiency and improving their interaction with the caller.

An IVR is crucial to call centre, as making numerous outbound calls can usually result in multiple missed calls. This leads to people calling back and without an IVR in place, calls will be ringing the wrong people or departments and causing havoc to your phone lines. 

So what is an interactive voice response (IVR)?

An IVR is a prerecorded message linked to a menu that is triggered when a caller dials your main office number. The caller will hear a number of options which can be selected by pressing the number on their keypad. An example of an IVR could be … Welcome to Primo Dialler, for Sales press 1, for Accounts press 2 and for Support Press 3. Once the user has pressed the relevant number the call will be routed to that department.

Depending on how the company is set up the call could ring multiple people, one individual or even enter another IVR with further options.

How does an interactive voice response help your call centre business?

Handle inbound calls efficiently

If calls come in and ring everyone then the likely hood of the call finding the right person or department are slim. With an interactive voice response, calls can be routed to the relevant department which removes the need for someone to pick up the call and transfer the call to the relevant person.

You can then add more structure to your calls centre as you might plan an inbound calls department or dedicate some of your best closers. 

Help your call centre business look more professional

IVR’s are usually associated with larger companies as it implies they have multiple employees and departments. Smaller companies using IVR’s can, therefore, give off the impression of being larger and more professional. Even a one-person enterprise could have one and route calls to the same phone.

Reduce customer frustration

We’ve all called up a company and have been passed from department to department without being sent to the relevant person. A well designed interactive voice response can go along way to removing customer frustration and providing a fantastic customer experience. 

This can help call centres as a better customer experience is more likely to lead to closing sales. 

Helps eliminate human error

When call handlers transfer calls to the relevant people there is a possibility for human error. Dialling incorrect transfer numbers or dropping the calls all together are usually the most common mistakes. This can reduce the chances of annoying the caller or losing the lead.

Save money

Larger companies would normally employ a receptionist to receive and route calls to the relevant departments. An interactive voice response can remove the need for an employee.

Where can an interactive voice response be routed to?

An IVR can be routed to many different options including the following:

Extension – A single phone.

Group – Multiple phones (a department).

Secondary IVR – If you have large departments with different areas you might need more IVR’s.

Voicemail – Allow callers to leave a message

Call Forwarding – If you’re not in calls can be forwarded to a different number.

A DNC List – If you’re a call centre making marketing calls, you’ll need to provide an option to opt out. This is usually done by setting up a DNC list which numbers can be added to when they press an option.

How to Design an IVR

Keep the message clear

Your initial message needs to be kept clear and straight to the point. Customers are calling for a variety of reasons and they want to speak to someone quickly. By having 9 options and describing each one in full detail could already annoy callers before they speak to an agent.

Make sure you explain who your company is and what you do, so callers know they’ve called the right place. 

An example message would be: “Thanks for calling Primo Dialler, we provide a range of call centre solutions. For Sales press 1, for support press 2 and for accounts press 3. For anything else, please hold.”

Offer routes to advisors if needed

Sometimes the option a user wants might not be available and therefore they could end up in a loop of options. If you give the provide the opportunity to speak to someone it can help reduce the chances of the caller becoming frustrated.

Offer options to leave a message for a callback

Sometimes a user might not want to follow all the paths to get to the right department, by offering the chance to leave a message. A caller to explain exactly who they want to call them back and eliminate the need listen to the menu.

Repeat the options

Sometimes a caller might be unsure of the option they need and after listening to the menu, they can’t remember which option suits them best. Repeating the options allows the user to make sure they make the right choice 2nd time around.

Additional IVR Features

Another useful option for using an IVR is a survey, this is an easy way for businesses to capture data from a caller. For example, if the call handler asks the caller to stay on call for a quick survey they can be transferred to an IVR where the caller can submit feedback. For example Press 1 for unacceptable, Press 2 for fair, Press 3 for Good, Press 4 for Very Good and Press 5 for excellent. The call could then route to the same prerecorded thank you message after each option.

The business can then use this information to analyse how good their customer support is.

An Interactive Voice Response is an ideal solution for a call centre business which receives a large number of calls and need to route them professionally to the relevant department. As more companies switch to VoIP Diallers and VoIP Phone Systems the cost of setting up an interactive voice response are relatively low, especially considering the time and money it will save the business.

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