If you’re just getting started in business or intending to start one, we’re sure you’re looking for the tools and technology you’ll need to get the job done right. It could be anything from project management tools to payroll management services to asset management systems or even IVR systems.
Each of these technologies is unique and often comes with a set of features and capabilities that set it apart from its peers. For this reason, before making any decision or investing in it, we must analyze all of its features and technological aspects.
In this blog, we will look at the 10 factors to consider in order to choose the best IVR system. We will investigate its technical aspects as well as its other capabilities. However, to select the right IVR system, we must first understand what an IVR system is in a nutshell.
What Is An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System?
Remember the last time you called a customer service number, and the bot instructed you to dial 1 for the sales team, 2 for delivery status, 3 for interaction with a customer representative, and so on? Yes, that’s what the IVR system is.
But, in a rather technical term, an Interactive Speech Response (IVR) system is an automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information using voice and DTMF tones input via a keypad. Besides, there is also Self-service IVR software, which enables the customers to solve their problems without needing an agent.
The IVR system’s principal function is to segment incoming calls based on their requests and route them to the appropriate contact center agent or department, minimizing unnecessary call routing between departments and speeding up the process.
Why Do You Need IVR Systems For Small Businesses?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems can be an excellent choice for small businesses or organizations that often experience high call volumes on specific weekdays or during peak seasons. In such instances, IVR systems can assist in segregating each call based on its concerns and route them to relevant agents trained to resolve those types of problems.
Moreover, a well-designed IVR system reduces the need for human agents, making your customer service operations more automated and cost-effective. Aside from improving contact center efficiency and KPIs, the IVR feature also contributes to higher customer satisfaction.
So there you have it– the basics of the IVR systems. Now, let’s learn about How to choose an IVR system.
10 Things To Consider While Choosing The Best IVR System
The following are the 10 most important factors to consider while selecting an IVR system. Let’s take a quick look at each one’s significance.
1. It Must Be a Cloud-Based Platform
Make sure that the IVR solution you select is cloud-based. Since cloud-based technology is cutting-edge in itself, opting for a cloud-based IVR solution will further enhance the IVR advantages. For example, a cloud-based platform will allow you to effortlessly scale up or down in line with your business growth while also keeping your system up to date with emerging technologies.
2. Ability to Route Calls & Keep Customers’ Information
The 2nd feature to look for in an IVR system is how good it is at routing inbound calls. For example, if a customer dials the helpline number and wants to connect with the sales team, the IVR software must direct the call to the sales team and not to the IT department or any other department. Moreover, the IVR system you use should be able to keep the customers’ information for a long period and should not ask customers to enter the information on every new interaction.
3. Voice Recognition Effectiveness
Speech-based search and commands are becoming more common and popular. For this reason, ensure that the IVR system you select is capable of recognizing a set of words that customers may use to instruct. Also, consider purchasing an AI-powered IVR solution so that it can learn the words & phrases on its own and, in turn, improve speech recognition with each passing day. This feature will also play a significant role in improving the First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate.
4. Queue Updates
The next factor on our “How to choose IVR system for any industry” is– Queue Updates. It is a common fact that no one enjoys waiting in a queue or being put on hold when they call customer support. However, there comes a time when you have to put the customer on wait until the resources, i.e., agents, are available. In such a case, the least you can do is inform on-hold customers about how long they will have to wait or how many customers are ahead of them in a queue. This information will help decide whether to drop the call and rather request a callback or not.
5. AI-Powered Conversational Capabilities
Buy an IVR system with AI-powered conversational capabilities. The AI abilities will enable businesses to shorten & simplify IVR menu while also allowing customers to reach the suitable contact center agents as quickly as possible without hopping from department to department or going through unnecessary call routing. Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), Text-To-Speech (TTS), and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are some of the AI-based capabilities to look for while buying an IVR system.
6. Omni Channel Support
Another crucial feature to look for in an IVR system for small business is whether or not it has Omnichannel support. Since customers often communicate with businesses through different mediums and channels, the IVR system you select you select must be capable of consolidating all of those conversations into one location to help contact center agents better understand the issue and its progress. Repeatedly asking customers about their problems on every platform will only add oil to their frustration and suffering.
7. Third-Party Integration
As we all know, most firms who are migrating to the digital space or leveraging the technologies at their best typically use multiple tools and services to perform the different operations. For this reason, it is expected that the IVR system you select will be able to integrate all of these third-party apps and services in order to simplify & streamline each procedure while also ensuring its smooth execution. This will not only increase customer satisfaction & productivity but will also eliminate unnecessary costs.
8. Personalized IVR Messaging
Personalized IVR messages are a cutting-edge feature that can drastically reduce call traffic. This approach uses Caller Line Identification (CLI) technology to identify callers when they receive the phone at the customer center. Later, it scans that customer’s record to find out what problems they may be experiencing.
For example, suppose you live in San Francisco and contact the electricity board to report a power outage. In that case, the IVR system recognizes that you are a San Francisco resident based on your phone number. Later, it plays a unique message informing you of the expected resolution time to the power outage you are facing. Eventually, this could eliminate the need to contact the call center agent. The next entry on our “How to choose IVR system guide” is– Call Flow Customization.
9. Call Flow Customization
The traditional IVR system often comes with a complex call flow design process. However, since call flow requirements vary from time to time, it is required that the IVR service you select comes with an easy and quick configurable call flow process and drag and drop user interface (UI). This will not only save you time but will also allow you to quickly change the call flow or adapt your IVR to match changing customer needs without spending your valuable resources on it for a long period each time.
10. Analysis and Reporting Tools
The 10th and final thing to consider when purchasing an IVR system is how advanced their analysis and reporting tools are. As real-time analysis and detailed reports of each campaign are critical components of any effective customer service, make sure you select an IVR system that meets both of these requirements. In addition, the reports will assist you in identifying and filling the flaws in your approach, allowing you to avert making the same mistakes in the future.
That’s all! Any IVR system that passes all of these checks is perfect to buy. However, remember that where the right IVR system can become a game-changer for your small business, a flawed IVR system can harm your business as well. Nevertheless, if you follow all of the 10 suggestions listed above, we are sure that you will be able to find the best IVR system for your business. In addition, to be on the safe side, always prefer IVR services that come with a free trial, such as CallHippo.
If you want to stay relevant in a rapidly changing business world, you must strengthen your organization with advanced and innovative technologies. A perfect Interactive Voice Response system will assist you in reducing call volume, lowering operational costs, increasing First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates, saving everyone’s time, and ultimately boosting customer experience.