Used by many industries today, interactive voice response (IVR) is a cost-effective means of interacting with potential and existing customers. IVR allows calls to be routed to perform a variety of functions. It is used to make bank payments, purchase items, or learning more about a service.
IVR is also an essential piece of technology for call centers. It enables them to move through contact lists with more efficiency and to field incoming calls to the right departments.
The Introduction of IVR
When IVR was first the 1970s, it was an expensive system and with rather limited functionality. However, over the years, thanks to continuously advancing technology, IVR systems grew to be essential components of many call centers and businesses. Additionally, the AI has also become much more intuitive.
The IVR voice was once described as clunky, robotic, and having “limited intellect.” Now it is friendly, lifelike, and difficult to discern from an actual human. That’s thanks to a wide range of responses and reactions meant to mimic a real person.
Customers are more likely to react positively to what they believe is a live person (or at the very least, sounds like one.) In contrast, you’ll get more detrimental reactions to a robotic voice. No one wants to listen to a sales pitch from a cold, emotionless metallic voice.
Common Uses of IVR
The technology offers a wide range of capabilities, and IVR has proven to be invaluable for certain types of functions, including:
- Collecting information from callers on incoming calls. The goal, in some cases, is that the caller can easily perform a variety of functions without needing to speak to a live agent. If a live agent is necessary, routing the call to the proper department is a breeze.
- Pre-qualifying callers to improve efficiency, time management, and conversion rates.
- Allowing the recipient of a call to be placed on the “do-not-call” list without having to waste agent time.
- Presenting information regarding a product or service, subsequently warming the customer and determining their interests.
4 Ways IVR Affects Your Conversion Rate
Savvy marketers today know that IVR needs to feel “real.” After all, that’s more likely to improve a conversion rate. Additionally, the more intuitive an IVR program, the more effective it is in meeting the customers’ needs. That’s why many businesses today upgrade to more sophisticated IVR systems. Older IVR systems don’t have the intelligence and features as the newer technology. Consider the following ways a new IVR system can better improve your conversion rate.
1) Improved Marketing Capabilities
IVR serves to increase brand awareness and deliver new offers and promotions to the customer. Additionally, it works in conjunction with marketing and advertising promotions on the web, in print, or on the radio. Call tracking allows you to unique phone numbers with individual IVRs for each campaign.
2) Improved Appointment Reminders
If you work in a service-based business, much time is spent calling customers to give them appointment reminders. An IVR system can handle that task, leaving desk agents and receptionists free to perform their other duties. The system can even schedule appointments or accept cancellations.
3) Lead Routing
This is one of the effective uses. When a cold lead calls in the automated system can warm the call and pass it off. IVRs make it less frustrating for the customer and the agent by getting the easy questions out of the way. This method of warming calls lets the agent spend their time on what’s important, like selling or building rapport.
4) Payment Processing
Also saving your company employees a great deal of time is advanced payment processing through IVR. Consumers can easily make payments, receive payment reminders, or check balances without ever speaking to a human. In addition to saving you ample time, it serves to improve revenue flows. Customers are more likely to pay on their own time rather than having to call in during business hours and wait to speak to an agent.
IVR Is Here To Stay
At the end of the day some consumers might still be critical of IVR systems. However, one cannot deny that automated systems offer multiple levels of convenience for the caller and the agent. A professional recording and an advanced, intuitive system are worth their weight in gold. If you are still using an older IVR system, upgrading could be the key to remaining competitive. It’s better to appreciate the customers’ needs and provide them a friendly, comforting experience.