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3 Ways IVR Is Changing Customer Service


Interactive voice response systems are revolutionizing customer service. In fact, experts say Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. improves resolution rates between customers and a company during the initial call, while lowering costs, call frequency, call abandonment rates and new agent training.

At the same time, clumsy IVR deployment has become a source of customer dissatisfaction, with one-third of customers voicing frustration with automated systems that fail to resolve their questions or issues. Still, IVR can be an excellent tool for enhancing customer satisfaction, but only when deployed properly.

Here are three ways companies are using IVR to improve their customer service, which your business can emulate to boost customer satisfaction.

1. It Integrates Voice Support with Other Service Channels

One way IVR is improving customer service is making it easier for companies to meet customers’ demand for smooth omnichannel service. Today, a majority of consumers now use multiple avenues to contact a customer service department, with 73 percent preferring voice interactions, 67 percent through companies’ self-service websites, while 58 percent prefer email and 43 percent desire instant messaging or online chat, according to market research firm Forrester.

Meantime, two in three attempts to resolve a customer service issue via self-service wind up requiring assistance from a live agent, and nearly nine in 10 customers expect companies to provide a seamless transition as conversations move from one channel to another.

Knowing all this, the best way to provide a seamless transition between channels and phone support is to use an IVR system integrated with a cloud contact center platform. Indeed, a cloud contact center provides a unified interface that coordinates information from all support channels.

This allows IVR systems to automatically call up information from the customer’s previous interactions with your company, while providing live human agents with the same information, speeding up response time, and avoiding the frustration customers experience when they have to repeat information they have already provided.

2. It Personalizes and Speeds Up the Support Experience

Beyond speed and efficiency, integrated omnichannel support helps promote better-personalized service, meeting another demand of today’s consumers. In fact, a majority of today’s consumers expect personalized service, with 72 percent of consumers and 89 percent of business buyers expecting companies to understand their individual needs. Two in three consumers say they will switch brands if they feel like they are treated as a number rather than an individual.

However, IVR systems that incorporate artificial intelligence are helping deliver this type of personalized service. By using AI to analyze caller account history and interpret natural language input, IVR systems can predict what customers are likely calling about and can thereby present menu options that can better expedite the support process.

This adapts support to the customers’ personal needs, while speeding up resolution time. It also avoids presenting customers with irrelevant menu options, one of the limitations of traditional automated phone menus and poorly-configured IVR systems.

3. It Promotes Proactive Support

AI-powered IVR systems are not only able to predict what callers may desire or need, but they can even anticipate what callers need before they call. This is helping companies shift from a reactive to a proactive customer service paradigm.

For example, CVS Health uses its IVR system to provide customers with refill reminders and refill pickup alerts, which are transmitted through automated phone calls, texts and emails. IVR systems are also being used for automated payment reminders, appointment confirmations and utility outage notifications. Setting up this type of proactive service can save you time on routine tasks while improving the quality of your customer service.

Providing omnichannel support, delivering personalized assistance, and promoting proactive care are three ways that IVR is changing the way customer service is handled. As IVR adoption continues to grow, customers will increasingly expect service that provides these benefits. Putting IVR into effect can help ensure your customer service keeps pace with that of your competitors and your customers’ satisfaction levels stay high.