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?”

Step Two in Mobilizing Your Contact Center: Create a Continuous and Seamless Customer Experience

K. Landoline
K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  •  The enterprise’s motivation in driving customers to do more via the mobile channel should be to provide a highly differentiated customer experience, enhance the overall lifetime value of the customer to the enterprise, and reduce operational costs.
  • Due to the growing popularity of mobile phones as a channel of access to customer service centers and the customer’s natural aversion to an IVR interface, it will be essential to allow customers to shift from a mobile, self-service mode to live agent assistance as simply as possible.

In my October 13th blog posting, “Step One in Mobilizing Your Contact Center: Send Your Agents Home,” I suggested that an initial step in mobilizing a contact center might be to implement an at-home agent strategy.  In this posting, I would like to broach the issue of planning and preparing for interactions with clients who will be using mobile phones more often in the future.  Preparing for increased mobile traffic will be essential to maintaining and/or improving current customer satisfaction and preparing for the younger generation of customers who will demand easy remote access to your customer service communications infrastructure. Continue reading “Step Two in Mobilizing Your Contact Center: Create a Continuous and Seamless Customer Experience”