Tips for a Successful IVR System
December 03, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The contact center strategy is important for any organization that must interact with its customer base. In the financial services industry, it’s not uncommon for a bank to launch the contact center and then leave it alone. This failure to focus on consistent improvement for a customer-facing part of the business could lead to drastic failure. In an environment where the IVR system is often guiding the customer’s journey, oversight and consistent improvement is key.
A recent Bank Tech article highlighted a few steps a bank can implement to ensure the optimization of the customer experience. As the IVR system remains a high-use channel for those seeking self-service options, this important channel must receive priority attention in the contact center or the bank will risk customer churn. After all, customers hate a bad IVR system and if this self-service is out of the question due to frustration, the competition will start to look that much more attractive.
First, the bank should heavily research IVR systems and other automated solutions to ensure the selected platform fits with the strategy for customer care and self-service. Plus, there must be a plan to mine data from the IVR system to identify where customers are spending the majority of their time. Only this information allows for improvement.
Second, the bank needs to focus on the personalization of the customer data and the customer interaction. While customers do want to feel protected in their banking interactions, they also want personalized service. If customer data captured in the automated interaction can be tied to that customer for personalized communications in the future, he or she is more likely to prefer the IVR system.
Third, channel consistency is critical. While customers may prefer the IVR system and the self-service it provides, they are still going to use other channels to interact. As a result, the service has to be the same across each channel, and the information available on the customer must be identified immediately. If the customer started a problem resolution interaction using Web chat, the IVR system should identify the customer as one and the same if the next step is a phone call.
Next, the bank – and any other organization using an IVR system – should remove the fluff. The IVR system is meant to streamline communications, not make them more complicated. If an option is never used, confuses the caller or consumes too much time, it should be removed. Likewise, if the “0” is too obvious or promoted too much to the caller, why would they use the automated system? The customer should be allowed to make the choice – and most know they can always hit the “0” when resolution is out of reach.
Finally, treat the IVR system like another agent in the contact center. Don’t expect a higher standard out of one over the other – that will negate the rule of consistency. Plus, if the experience is too different, callers will opt out and select the live agent and the IVR system will fail to serve its intended purpose. And, at the end of the day, the organization should avoid automating everything. No one channel should be made to handle everything and some issues are just too complicated for automation.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey