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IVR Featured Article

IVR Provider's 'Cheat Sheet' for Customer Friendly Systems Part 2

December 14, 2009

Last week’s discussion touched on the first five essentials of designing a customer friendly interactive voice response, or “IVR,” system. In addition to letting the callers know understand the system, offering a live agent option, a time estimate, a no-repeat, hassle free system and a navigation option, IVR systems provider, Angel.com, says there’s more pieces to the puzzle than that.

According to company officials, personalizing the IVR system for each caller will increase the odds that a customer will feel more appreciated and catered to on a call. How does a company go about implementing this? By integrating a company’s customer databases with its customer relationship management, or “CRM,” systems.

This way, not only will the customer experience a pleasant call, but will more likely stay on the line with the IVR versus switching over to the live agent.

For individuals who have experienced a very frustrating IVR system, with special annoyance in trying to navigate back to the original menu, or to a live operator, Angel.com’s next suggestion should be a “must-have” for any company who wants to improve satisfaction for its customers.

By identifying and communicating a few universal commands that are recognized any time during a call, an IVR system will recognize a common “main menu” command, and create a much more enjoyable experience for callers.

And, by keeping the IVR interface simple, by using closed, short prompts, as well as limiting the number of menu choices, the system will be more user-friendly, evolving consumers into a more universally accepted IVR model.

“Callers will only use the IVR system if they perceive that it is easy to use and useful in resolving their issue or information request,” company officials said.
Often, callers are confused when dealing with an IVR system. By allows informing the caller of the actions being taken, the IVR dialogue is as similar to a conversation between two human beings. 

By having auto prompted messages such as “thanks for the information, let me look up your account” or “I am trying to find the appropriate person to handle your request,” will give customers various direct responses to keep from confusion.

Lastly, according to Angel.com, an IVR system needs to provide courteous, smooth error handling. 

“Generic error messages that are not tailored to the caller's specific situation will drive callers away from the IVR,” company officials said. “The system should always take the blame for errors.”

While all of the above suggestions, as well as last week’s, are imperative to providing customers a successful IVR system, Angel.com officials said the sure fire easiest way to discover the effectiveness of an IVR system is to survey the callers who use it. 

To this account, Angel.com can set up a short IVR phone survey which can be attached to the end of any call and report the results directly back to a specific company for use in improving its IVR system.

Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Web editor, covering CRM and workforce technologies, and anchor of its daily TMC Newsroom video broadcast. Kelly also writes about eco-friendly "green" technologies and smart grids, compiling TMCnet's weekly e-Newsletters on those topics, as well as the cable industry. To read more of Kelly's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire


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