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Guest Post: Three Surprising Ways You Can Improve the Customer Experience with Cloud IVR

This week we feature an article by Nogol Tardugno who tells us how to get our contact center interactive voice response (IVR) to deliver the best customer experience. Any reports of the death of interactive voice response (IVR) as a customer service channel have been greatly exaggerated. In 2019 businesses continue to fund their IVR […]

This week we feature an article by Nogol Tardugno who tells us how to get our contact center interactive voice response (IVR) to deliver the best customer experience.

Any reports of the death of interactive voice response (IVR) as a customer service channel have been greatly exaggerated. In 2019 businesses continue to fund their IVR call solutions as statistics both formal and anecdotal continue to demonstrate the need. Forrester, for instance, has reported that nearly 40 percent of customer service interactions still take place over the phone.

You’ve heard by now of all the practical ways that today’s dynamic IVR can support your customer experience, including:

  • Providing simple self-service functions such as balance checking or order status without needing to talk to an agent
  • Offering faster, more convenient service at literally any time

But what about ways a cloud IVR could achieve the cliché and “delight” your customers — or, dare we say, even surprise them?

The most meaningful surprise for your customers (and your bottom line) would be an IVR that, from dial tone to “goodbye,” is quick and easy to use and operates in an intuitive manner, providing a customer journey that could make them glance at the phone and think, “Wow, I’m done already?!”

So how can your contact center IVR get there?

  1. Get Straight to the Point

When you need help from a business, nothing is more frustrating than to hear the “we are experiencing unusually high call volume” message as soon as the call picks up. A cloud IVR can benefit your contact center and your customers from the second a call is placed. Because the cloud service can be scaled according to need, your team can have the right number of agents available at any time without the need for extra hardware that isn’t often needed. Further, when you want customizable features such as artificial intelligence applications (see below), you don’t have to buy expensive enterprise tools or hire the technical experts required to use them. The outcome is that cloud IVR keeps your queue flowing smoothly and call spikes don’t affect your incoming callers – which is particularly reassuring to those who are simply trying to access your self-service options.

Along with a quick and effective customer experience, today’s customers most appreciate businesses that make an effort to respect their time and demonstrate that their mutual relationship is important. This personalized service leads to a higher perception of quality, and if your IVR can tap into your customer data from other channels, previous interactions, and your CRM, each call can be a quality experience.

This sort of dynamic IVR can surprise your customers by:

  • Immediately recognizing them and greeting them by name
  • Proactively offering personalized menu actions due to their recent activity in other channels: “I see you’ve recently viewed your checking account online. Do you need help with one of the following transactions?”
  • Accessing their service and purchase history and proactively offering information on the customer’s potential needs, such as service updates or product training

As mentioned above, this is an area where cloud IVR really shines because it functions through pre-built and customizable applications that “ride” over the top of your existing legacy systems. These applications are comparatively easy to install and implement, meaning your customers’ phone experience can improve within days or weeks instead of months.

  1. Stop Pushing Buttons

The concept of IVR has been around a long time, but it’s finally, efficiently living up to its name: it can be interactive and accept voice responses in a conversational dialog. AI-powered IVR applications use natural language processing to let callers simply state why they’re calling – particularly pleasant for the ever-growing number of customers calling from a mobile device who may actually be mobile and unable to easily access a keypad. These apps can determine caller intent and automatically direct them to the right destination, whether it’s a self-service function or an agent. This clearly accelerates your call routing and decreases overall call time, which means higher rates of customer satisfaction.

  1. Leverage Your Data

In today’s data-driven world, how can you make sure your customer experience is really what you need it to be, and even improve it over time? It may surprise your customers to be asked for their opinion of your service at the same time the service is going on. IVR-implemented Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys collect timely, accurate feedback while the experience is still fresh in their minds – and you can immediately leverage that data to optimize your internal operations. The IVR can link back to your customer data, modify survey questions in real-time, and collect personalized feedback. You can quickly and effectively measure the results of product launches, gather data for new programs, and analyze the effectiveness of services. This new data will show you what already works and suggest what areas can be improved.

Along with VoC tools, cloud IVR applications can offer user-friendly tools for A/B testing your call experience and quickly hone in on the structures and experiences your customers find most intuitive and successful.

So there are three ways that your IVR can be updated to offer a customer experience that is consistently refined to be faster, smoother and, yes, more surprising for your customers. It may even come as a surprise to you, your operations team, or your C-suite what benefits your company can expect from implementing this simple solution that delivers a consistent, centralized experience across all of your channels. Simply put, a cloud IVR gives you complete control over your digital voice channel, and its customizable, pre-built applications can streamline the development and management processes even further.

Nogol Tardugno is the Director of Customer Success at Plum Voice. With over 18 years of experience, she is passionate about delivering the best customer journey through the use of technology. She has a background in Computer Information Systems and has worked in financial, digital marketing and CPaaS industries.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to Blog: Building a Human Powered, Technology-aided 21st Century Customer Experience

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Hacks For Using Video To Enhance The Customer Experience

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