Is It Time to Abandon Your Interactive Voice Response System?

K. Landoline
K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Customer complaints regarding the IVR interface with customer service are so plentiful that many customers and companies wonder if they may not be achieving the purposes for which they were designed: to speed up service, reduce company costs, and improve customer satisfaction and longevity.
  • More intelligent IVRs and the expanding use of smartphones/tablets by consumers have the potential to alleviate today’s major IVR frustrations.  They can eliminate unnecessary interactions and enable visual IVR functionality allowing customers to navigate more easily through menu choices. 

I recently saw the results of a study done by New York University that said 49% of the people surveyed believed that use of interactive voice response (IVR) systems in customer service environments benefits neither the customer nor the company.  Only 15% of respondents felt that, as customers, they received any benefit from this common self-service tool being used by enterprises of all sizes today.  With this negative perception of IVRs being so widespread, you may wonder what is driving the growing use of the technology.  Well, to be honest, there are a few benefits to both customers and companies that originally brought IVRs to prominence in customer care circles.  First of all, IVRs enable companies to extend service hours without having to staff expensive live contact centers on a 24×7 basis.  Secondly, they do reduce queue times, because it has been shown that approximately two-thirds of calls coming into contact centers are fairly simple requests that effective IVRs can handle very well, freeing up live agents to take more complex calls requiring human interaction.  Finally, IVRs provide a sense of privacy or anonymity to consumers who may be calling to verify they are overdrawn on their checking account or late on a payment – facts they may not want to discuss with a live person.  So, don’t throw away your IVR just yet. Continue reading “Is It Time to Abandon Your Interactive Voice Response System?”