Are you using IVR (interactive voice response) solutions to grow your business? If you work for a business where customers call you, there are dozens of ways to use IVR applications to improve marketing and sales, increase customer loyalty, improve efficiency, and cut costs.
If you are new to IVR, or looking to brush up on some knowledge, this blog shares what it is, why it’s important, and the ways marketing, sales, and support teams can use it to create better phone call experiences.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology system used in various industries, like customer service or telecommunications, that automates interactions between a computerized system and a business’s callers. It gathers information from the callers and then directs them to the correct internal menu option or live support team member depending on what the customers need.
When a customer calls a business's phone number, the IVR system will answer and direct the caller by providing push key options to navigate a menu or voice navigation options. It’s important for your system to offer both because if a customer has a speech disability, they have the option to press the numbers on their phone to navigate. Invoca’s IVR is powered by natural language processing (NLP) and can recognise both keypress and voice responses. Once the system has figured out why the customer has called, they can either continue to be assisted with the IVR system or be directed to a live customer service representative.
IVR systems can alleviate the phone traffic heading to your call centers by answering the easy questions and leaving the more complicated requests to your live agents. They also reduce hold times and transfers by allowing your customers to self-route to the best destination to meet their needs. An IVR system also doesn’t need any breaks or sleep, so your business can offer 24/7 customer assistance. You can learn more about Invoca’s own IVR capabilities here.
It’s simpler than you think! Invoca’s cloud-based IVR system can be configured in minutes without any disruption to your business. There’s no coding, no need to involve IT (I’m sure your IT team would appreciate that!) and it integrates with every phone system. Anyone from any department of your business can initiate it and can even configure it to be location-specific, national, or regional. To learn more, you can request a demo here!
So, now that you know what IVRs are and how they work, let's dive into how you can use them to improve the customer experience and drive more revenue. See our top 7 use cases below:
For call center professionals, phone surveys are an invaluable tool for measuring customer service quality. But do your customers even want to take a survey? Yes! And not just when they’re unhappy, either. According to the Invoca Buyer Experience Report, 66% of customers want to take a post-call survey no matter what their experience was like, and only 14% said they only take surveys if they have a bad experience.
There are two types of surveys support professionals can set up: inbound IVR (surveys you call to take) and outbound IVR (surveys that call you). For example, you can transfer callers to a quick inbound survey to provide immediate feedback after speaking on the phone to a support agent. This type of phone survey helps businesses gather timely and relevant feedback at a time when the transaction remains fresh in customers’ minds. Alternatively, for times when a customer’s satisfaction with the help you provided can’t be immediately gauged, you can schedule an outbound IVR to automatically call customers after a certain period of time and ask them questions.
An interesting way many marketers are using IVR is by making it the asset in their calls to action. For example, instead of sending out emails and running ads asking people to download information, you can ask them to call a special number to interact with your IVR. “Take our brief survey to win an iPad”, or “Find out if your windows need to be replaced using this 3-minute analysis”, for example. At the end of the call, the IVR can give them the option of speaking immediately with a sales rep. You capture all their contact information and IVR responses for future marketing campaigns.
Inbound IVRs are ideal for scoring phone leads. The IVR will ask callers the questions you determine work best to qualify them for your particular campaign. For example, if you are using the BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline) model to qualify leads, you can pose those questions to learn if callers are really ready to buy. Or you can find out from your sales managers what questions they care about in order to qualify leads, then pose those questions to callers.
You can also use the IVR to route calls based on product line, business unit, or location if you have multiple locations, dealers, or local agents. Just ask a few simple questions like “enter your zip code” for location routing, or “press 1 for sales” to keep service calls out of the sales contact center.
Leads that score high enough are passed from the IVR directly to sales for an immediate conversation. You can even send them to a second IVR if that works best for your campaign. It’s the same principle you use when inserting qualifying questions on your web forms. But the IVR results are better because leads passed to sales get connected in conversation immediately.
Use IVR to survey customers who are testing new products in beta. The survey can ask yes-or-no or multiple-choice questions, or the questions can be open-ended and the customer can provide answers in their own voice. It’s flexible and the surveys can be easily updated to reflect new stages in your product testing.
Surveying customers in beta using IVR also makes it easy for you to receive and evaluate feedback, and then make changes accordingly. The results of the IVR survey are immediately accessible after a customer has completed the survey. This enables your team to take action to resolve issues or make adjustments as needed based on the information your customers have provided.
Get to know your customer demographic and decode their purchasing preferences, habits, and needs with phone surveys. Phone surveys will help you learn your customers’ attitudes about your industry, your products and services, and themselves. Market research not only helps you understand your current customers, it helps you understand your potential customers and opportunities for growth.
Conducting this type of research via IVR phone survey helps you to be agile, as questions can be updated and changed as needed, and results can be viewed and analyzed instantly. IVR surveying for market research is more cost-effective than hiring a team of surveyors and buying expensive equipment to conduct the research.
If you sell products or services that require reordering or renewals, automating the reminder and reorder process with an outbound IVR survey can be a real cost-saver. Ask your customers what product or service they need to reorder, how much, the day they need it, and any other relevant questions to complete the order. Automated reordering can be used for patients needing to refill prescription drugs, for businesses needing to reorder goods and supplies, and many other needs.
Set up your own IVR auto-attendant to answer incoming calls, route callers using interactive phone menus, and provide info like account balances or business hours. IVR auto-attendants can replace live receptionists, helping your business cut costs and provide 24/7 customer service.
Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you improve phone call experiences, reduce hold times, and increase conversions? Check out these resources: