Don't You Know Who I AM?

What your customers want you to know about IVR self-service.
If you can make speech-based, automated phone self-service a success, everyone wins. Costs go down. Customer satisfaction goes up. Everyone gets what they want. But these systems—known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR)—often ignore the very basic tenets of customer service. Callers provide information, are made to wait, listen to irrelevant options, wait some more, only to be asked to repeat themselves. Who wouldn't be frustrated?

The good news for everyone is that, today, you have options. Next-generation technology has made IVR increasingly powerful, astute and accessible. With the right tools, you can anticipate and quickly address caller needs. Business users have hands-on control over the IVR that they never had before. Best of all, Cloud-based, SaaS-based IVR solutions require no hardware, software, upgrades or specialized coding skills, which slashes the costs of traditional, hosted, on-premise IVR. Excuses for poor IVR self-service are clearly running out. But how do you go about finding such a solution? And what makes it effective? Here are a few things every caller wishes you knew…

Knowing why your callers might be on the line—and addressing those needs up front—is instrumental to effective self-service automation. A customer can't self-serve if they can't get to the option they need. If agent support is required, it defeats the purpose of automation. A system based on best practice Voice User Interface (VUI) design can go a long way here. But some IVR systems have been constrained by their own technology. Today's IVR is powered by technology, not constricted by it. A Web-based, hands-on interface lets you build IVR applications and continuously tweak, tune and test them in real-time until they achieve the results you and your customer want. Enhancement opportunities, marketing campaign results, responding to critical business events—all can be handled on the fly. This is a revolutionary change from traditional IVR, where even simple changes were hardcoded, could take weeks or months to implement, and provided you with no visibility into your applications.

All callers want to be treated with respect—to be spoken to in a respectful manner, to be heard, empowered, and taken to their destination efficiently. Being asked repeatedly for the same information, bumping around in voice menus or having responses ignored can make an existing customer feel disrespected and can lose a prospective customer. Treating IVR callers with respect requires a combination of personalization and effective technology. Businesses today often have rich storehouses of customer information—CRM, ERP, billing systems and more—with vast possibilities for self-service automation. Easy integrations with those databases can open up a world of new opportunities in automating customer self-service—whether that means addressing a technical question or placing an order. If a caller achieves the desired result fast, they might spend some extra moments considering a new offer from you. They feel valued, they return, and they recommend you to others.
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