How IVR Can Improve Your Customer Service

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems in call centers create 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 — a form of communications technology — 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 prompt users to select options either using the keypad on their phone or through a natural language menu, making it easier for the customer to navigate to the right department or service area without being transferred around.

An IVR menu can be structured in whatever way makes the most sense for your organization, whether based on department, products, or issue type.

6 Benefits of IVR for Businesses and Customers

Top-notch IVR systems offer 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, it's useful to know what advantages IVR can offer. Keep reading to discover some of the top benefits of IVR.

1. 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 the best available queue. There they can 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, resulting in a reduction in the number of agents needed to take each call. This frees 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.

2. Set Inbound Call Priority

Don’t miss out on high-value leads or customers. When used as part of a multi-channel solution, which gives you more customer history data, an IVR system allows you to prioritize important callers at the front of the queue. Certain options can be hidden in the IVR and are 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 general customer service inquiries as well as technical support, you can set a higher level of service for technical support options. This prioritizes more technical calls above general inquiries.

3. Conduct Customer Service Surveys

Want to know 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 one or two 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.

4. Messaging Updates

An interactive voice response system allows you to easily update customer messaging. If you have advance notice of a software update or experience a sudden service outage, you can quickly switch up the messaging to alert customers to the issue. 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. 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.

5. Call Deflection

Call deflection uses updated IVR messaging to encourage customers to utilize alternative communication methods to reach customer service.

Recommending channels for faster service like chat functionality on the website or via SMS can help reduce call volume. While most 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 a certain call volume threshold.

6. Callback Requests

The most up-to-date interactive voice response platforms, like the Genesys IVR system, offer customers the option for callback requests. This type of request enables the customer to maintain their position in the queue without staying on the line.

Especially during times with high call volume, this option demonstrates to the customer that you are respectful of their time. It also improves customer satisfaction.

Make the Most of Your IVR System

While it comes with many benefits, an IVR system shouldn’t be something you simply set and forget about. It is a good idea to review the setup of your IVR system from time to time to make sure you are getting the most out of the technology.

Sometimes an outside perspective is beneficial. Businesses that rely on Aureon Contact Center for their customer service needs also gain access to a team that knows how to best use IVR systems and other call center technology. We will work alongside your business to increase efficiencies and improve on existing practices.

Ready to make the most out of IVR? Connect with Aureon and learn more about our scalable customer service solutions available to businesses of all sizes.