How to Unlock the Potential of Your IVR

Strategy Solutions Series

How to Unlock the Potential of Your IVR

By TMCnet Special Guest
  |  November 12, 2013

Let’s face it.  IVR systems don’t have a great reputation.

That’s a major problem for businesses in this new age of the customer.  Bad experiences are frequently aired on social media, potentially damaging your brand, and adversely impacting your organization’s ability to acquire and retain customers.

It’s also a major problem for businesses that need self-service and multi-channel strategies to reduce costs and succeed in today’s competitive environment.

The good news is that the IVR can be an effective tool both to control costs and to meet – and perhaps even exceed – the needs of customers.

Sounds good, right? But what does it take to get the job done?

Perhaps less than you think.

Too many companies jump to the conclusion that they need an entirely new IVR platform and a new IVR design. That’s a costly and high risk undertaking. The fact is most existing IVR systems are under-utilized and suffering from easily fixable application and voice user interface design issues.

The best way to fix it is via a data-driven and caller-centric approach, which requires:

  • visibility of how callers interact inside your automated systems;
  •  the ability to follow callers to an agent after they leave the automated systems; and
  •  the tools to rewind the call, listen to the IVR interaction, and re-design it so the caller would have been successful.

With AVOKE Analytics, you can use a data-driven and caller-centric approach to make a series of precisely targeted improvements to your existing IVR. In a few iterations, you can achieve performance that meets or exceeds a new system without the cost, risk and disruption of a new re-design.

AVOKE suggests the following to help with common IVR challenge:

Maximizing Identification Success

Callers that authenticate successfully in your IVR have better experiences, higher survey scores, and higher self-service resolution rates. But many companies believe their identification rates are too low. And they are uncertain about what to do to make it better.

To maximize identification success, AVOKE recommends that companies:

  •  use analytics to automatically categorize IVR identification failures;
  • drill-down and listen to callers fail in the IVR, then jump ahead and listen to how the agent identifies the very same callers; and 
  •  use this root cause understanding of caller behavior to design and implement precisely targeted changes that improve ID success in your IVR.

Increasing Self-Service Success

Increasing self-service is similar to maximizing identification success, but with a focus on the self-service module.

Analytics saves time finding the right calls to analyze by automatically creating a category of failed self-service calls and categories of different types of failures. The most effective approach is a side-by-side comparison of how callers fail in the IVR self-service module and how the very same callers complete the transaction successfully with an agent.

The combination of a rich understanding of failure modes in the IVR along with strategies your agents use to succeed gives you the roadmap for improvements to your IVR self-service applications.

Reducing Transfers

Another fundamental question is whether your callers navigate your menus properly given the reason for their call.  If you have high transfer rates, the problem may be that your callers are not behaving as your IVR/VUI designers hoped they would.

The biggest challenge in reducing transfers is re-assembling the parts of the call so you can discover where and how calls got mis-routed and then had to be transferred. 

To improve IVR navigation and routing accuracy, AVOKE Analytics recommends that companies

  • find calls that went to the wrong agent and had to be transferred;
  • examine the agent dialog to learn the true reason for the call and why it was transferred;
  • replay the caller’s IVR experience to see what menu choices they made and why; and
  • follow the call to the last agent to see if it was transferred to the right queue and whether it was ultimately resolved

With this end-to-end understanding of the call, you’ll discover how to make improvements to your IVR menus so they don’t mis-direct calls and cause unnecessary agent transfers.

Reducing IVR Abandons                                                   

About 5 to 10 percent of IVR abandons are due to some distraction that required the caller’s immediate attention. Those are unavoidable. The rest are due to frustration with your automated system and most can be addressed easily.

One of the simplest ways to find problematic IVR abandons is to look for calls with excessively long time in the IVR, no self-service task completion, and the caller hanging up before going into a queue.

By listening to a set of abandons at a specific location and discovering exactly why callers gave up, you can gain the level of understanding you need to make targeted changes to reduce abandons.

The bottom line is that most IVR systems have untapped potential, which can be unlocked by analyzing actual customer behavior. Indeed, IVR optimization driven by customer behavior analysis can reduce agent handled call volume by 10-20 percent and remove negative experiences from 30-50 percent of calls.

To learn more about how to how to unlock the potential of your existing IVR, visit or email [email protected].

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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