How IVR Can Improve Your Customer Service & Call Center

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are a call center solution that provide the opportunity for improved efficiencies and customer satisfaction.

Articles published July 15, 2019


You’re likely accustomed to hearing an automated menu when you call a company for service. That automated menu is interactive voice response (IVR) at work. IVR is a telephony system that gets the customer to the right agent or answer based on the menu options they choose. IVR has quickly become an industry standard, providing companies with cost savings and organizational efficiencies, not to mention increased customer satisfaction.

Most IVR systems will allow users to select options either using the keypad on their phone or through a natural language menu, making it easier for a customer to navigate to the right area. An IVR menu can be structured in whatever way makes the most sense for your organization, whether that is based on department, products, or issue type.

Top-notch IVR systems offer multiple benefits to businesses and customers alike. Whether you’re contemplating incorporating a new IVR system into your organization or want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your current system, read about some of the major benefits of IVR below.

Increased Call Center Efficiency

With an interactive voice response system in place, customer calls are routed more quickly to the highest skilled agent, ultimately leading to a faster time to resolution. That’s because the system menu is structured in such a way that allows the customer to select the option that places them in a queue to speak to the person with the highest level of knowledge on their particular issue. If, for example, a customer has first selected the menu option for "smart TV support" and then selected a second option indicating that they are calling about difficulties connecting their smart TV to the internet, their call would be routed into the queue of the team member who has the internet and network know-how to assist the customer.

An IVR with a thoughtfully structured menu can also increase the rate of customer self-service resolutions, therefore utilizing fewer agents to take each call and freeing up other agents to handle incoming requests.

In the world of customer service, your goal is to make sure the customer is satisfied as quickly as possible. Faster resolutions and fewer transfers help increase customer satisfaction and help your organization gain efficiencies.

Set Inbound Call Priority

Don’t let high-value leads or customers get away. When used as part of an omnichannel solution, which provides additional existing data about that customer’s history, IVR systems allow you to prioritize important callers or urgent matters at the front of the queue.

Other options can be hidden in the IVR and only available when executives or other top personnel call in. Entering a specific code can move them ahead of the queue for faster service.

IVR systems also allow you to set a level of service on the customer menu options. If, for example, the same team answers questions for both general customer service inquiries as well as technical support, you can set a higher level for technical support options which would prioritize those calls above the general inquiries.

Conduct Customer Service Surveys

Want to know what if there is a particular area driving your customer service calls or whether customers are satisfied with the support they’ve received? Use an IVR system that adds the option of a customer service survey at the end of each call. A system with survey capabilities in place will automatically ask the customer to stay on the line after their call. The most effective surveys simply ask the customer 1 or 2 questions.

With an IVR system you can decide which questions to ask your customers and then measure their responses. This data is then stored within the phone system and can be used to inform your strategy and help improve your customer service capabilities.

Messaging Updates

Interactive voice response systems allow you to update customer messaging on the fly. If you have advance notice of a software update or experience a sudden service outage, you can quickly and easily switch up the messaging to alert customers to the issue at hand. That way, if customers are calling to ask why their service is temporarily not working and hear the answer in your messaging, your agents are still free to handle other incoming requests.

Similarly, if there is high call volume, you can update the messaging to customers saying as much. They may appreciate knowing there will be a longer-than-usual wait time or seek out alternative methods of communication instead, like live chat or text messaging..

Call Deflection

Call deflection uses updated IVR messaging to encourage customers to use alternative communication methods to reach customer service. Recommending channels for faster service like chat on the website or via SMS can help reduce call volume. While agents can only handle one phone call at a time, it is much easier to manage multiple chats or text messages simultaneously, increasing the rate at which customer issues are resolved. You can program your IVR system to automatically play call deflection messaging at a certain time of day or certain call volume threshold.

Callback Requests

The most up-to-date interactive voice response platforms, like the Genesys IVR system, offer customers the option for callback. With callback requests, the customer is able to maintain their position in the queue without staying on the line or listening to call music. Especially during times with high call volume, this option demonstrates to the customer that you are respectful of their time and can lead to improved customer satisfaction.

Ready to make the most out of IVR? Connect with Aureon and connect with customer service solutions.