IVR: A Key Self-Service Tool for Contact Centres

Interactive voice response (IVR) has revolutionised the contact centre world by allowing consumers to quickly resolve basic enquiries on their own. It was the first self-service channel available to consumers.

IVRs gave organisations the ability to handle larger quantities of customers and reduce operational costs.

Although there has been an undeniable growth in other channels such as email and web chat, which has added greater choice of how consumers interact with organisations, the facts speak for themselves. 70% of all inbound customer contact is still handled through the telephone and viewed by organisations and consumers alike as a compulsory method of contact.

The growth of these new channels has ultimately been driven by consumer behaviour. Current innovative self-service capabilities have led to contact centres tasking themselves with providing a more efficient, fluid customer experience. This ultimately means integrating all of their customer contact channels seamlessly, including their IVR's.

Along with these advances in technology, interactions have changed over the last three generations of consumer. Earlier generations prefer to speak with someone directly about an enquiry or issue, while 'Millennials' prefer methods that offer autonomy and choice to find potential options or solutions on their own. The latter choose only to speak to a customer-service advisor if they cannot resolve the issue themselves.

But despite generation gaps, 54% of consumers still dial a customer services department, while 27% turn to online self-service channels. According to Forrester, "organisations need to go further with personalising their customer service interactions by providing differentiated experiences for broad customer segments." This will be achieved by delivering the right service experience — either via self-service or agent assisted — to the right user at the right time.

The clients we work with understand that they cannot stand still and must keep innovating and exploring new ways of meeting customer demands through all relevant channels. Over time, although technology and processes have changed and improved, their business goals remain the same – improve customer service, reduce operational costs, and create efficiencies for their business.

The external drivers to innovation and advancements in our core market has made outsourcers like Eckoh grow technically and commercially. It has played a fundamental part in transforming our business from a pure IVR and speech recognition provider, to offering a successful range of multi-channel self-service products.

So why evolve?

The IVR market is now a mature business process, handling billions of calls every year across the world. But with the modern digital consumer accessing the web, email, voice and social channels through a variety of devices around the clock, the market is experiencing a huge modernisation. Original IVR solutions were built using call flows or 'trees', which have grown exponentially over the years. To merge with the new multi-channel approach and less patient nature of its users, their branches need a serious trimming.

Call-routing and Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) design plays a huge part in making an IVR successful from a customer and agent optimisation perspective. Businesses are now more complex, with more products and the requirement to make changes to the 'call flow' within the IVR more regularly. An intelligent baseline call-routing infrastructure can have a dramatic effect on all channels that link to it, so selecting the most dynamic and flexible platform is paramount for contact centres.

Over 20% of contact centres said that their priority investment areas in 2015, is to upgrade their Automatic Call Distribution/routing functionality and telephony systems. This not only demonstrates the market desire to continue voice channels, but also the need to update and enable systems to coexist and integrate to provide the centralised customer service that consumers are demanding.

So, here's the question: What is your organisation doing to make your IVR even slicker and more responsive for your customers?

Talk to us, and rejuvenate your IVR.

Give us a call on 01442 458 300

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Posted by eckoh at 11:51 AM on Nov 4, 2015

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