7 IVR best practices for smoother customer journeys
If you’re using or thinking about using a Voice solution to interact with customers, then interactive voice response (IVR) systems are a good place to start. Call center IVR menus can offer automated, efficient, and personalized interactions for both inbound and outbound calls – making interacting with customers more convenient and simpler.
Yet, the difference between a frustrating IVR maze and a seamless journey lies in how you implement some IVR best practices. Whether you are looking for how to improve your customer service, or you want to engage customers with an IVR marketing campaign, these seven best practices will help you offer the best possible Voice service to your customers:
- Use a clear voice for the IVR menu
- Keep it short and sweet
- Provide access to a live agent
- Offer multiple languages
- Use a high-quality speech recognition tool
- Set up fallback to DTMF
- Personalize your IVR system
1. Use a clear voice for the IVR menu
Customers don’t want to feel like they are talking to a robot, even though they might be. Use a human voice for your IVR, either with a voice-over actor or a text-to-speech tool. Steering away from robotic voices will help add credibility to your customer service and makes customers feel like your brand is easily accessible.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Nothing will turn your customers off more than a lengthy IVR menu. They are looking for a fast resolution to their queries, which means your greeting messages should be very short and your menu shouldn’t include too many options – it becomes hard to keep track of. The shorter and more efficient your menu is, the more satisfied your customers will be.
3. Provide access to a live agent
Although IVR is ideal for self-service issues, some customers just want to speak with a representative. Always offer the option to speak with an agent at the end of your IVR menu. This also helps customers who get caught in a loop in IVR menus because they still aren’t sure which button to press to get their desired information.
To help avoid any repetition, the agent should have access to contextual information about the caller. That means they can view the customer’s IVR can have access to the IVR options the customer chose before taking over the call. This helps cut down time to resolution and ensures the customer doesn’t feel they wasted their time selecting IVR menu options.
4. Offer multiple languages
If you offer services internationally, or even in regions with culturally diverse populations like the USA or UK, offering different languages on IVR menus can go a long way. This makes your services accessible to a wide range of people and will add to overall satisfaction with your brand.
5. Use a high-quality speech recognition tool
It will quickly become frustrating for customers if your IVR cannot understand their voice responses. Make sure you account for potential background noise, phones, and call quality. This can all impact how well your customers’ responses are recognized. Ensure you also provide enough time for a response, but not too much time where they are waiting for the next step of the menu.
6. Set up a fallback to DTMF
Ensure you’re prepared for any scenario. For one reason or another, a speech recognition tool might not be able to pick up on your customer’s voice. In the case they are making selections by speech, and it does not work, add a fallback to dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF). Setting up a fallback makes your IVR system more reliable and easier to use, helping avoid frustrating situations for customers.
7. Personalize your IVR system
Customers expect interactions to be personalized, and IVR is no exception. You can integrate your IVR solution into your back-end systems or use a customer data platform like People CDP to ensure data and information can be used across your solutions. When a customer calls, you can recognize their phone number and use it to personalize the IVR menu presented by pulling information about the customer profile, orders made etc. – making every IVR menu relevant to the respective customer.
Start designing your IVR menu
In the end, mastering IVR best practices is an investment in customer satisfaction and loyalty. So, now that you know what to keep in mind when building an IVR menu, the question becomes how do you actually build an efficient IVR system? Luckily, we’re here to help.
If you want to know more about IVR, methods to build menus, and how we can help, check out our blog.