Are misroutes sending your customers in the wrong direction?

Today’s GPS systems are a driver’s best friend, providing directions to where people need to go with pinpoint accuracy. However, today’s consumers don’t often have the same experience with a company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Frustrated callers end up in the wrong department, stuck in a phone menu maze, or try to avoid the system altogether by asking for a human being. Misroutes are the culprit. In this three part series, we look at the impact of misroutes and introduce a five step guide to help call center executives improve call routing and hit key IVR metrics.
Interactive Voice Response systems should avoid misroutes by giving clear directions so callers don’t get lost in a phone menu or taken to the wrong location.

It’s difficult to get lost anymore when we leave our homes. GPS systems are so sophisticated they know where we are going, how long it will take to get there, and which roads to avoid due to traffic. GPS systems also know which streets we should not go down because they are dead ends. Many people wish the same were true when calling customer service lines. It’s easier to get “lost” in a complex phone system while sitting on your couch than driving in your car. The culprit here is misroutes.

In this three part series, we’ll look at misroutes, their business impact, and review five steps to help call center executives improve call routing and hit key Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) metrics.


Defining misroutes and why they matter

Put simply, misroutes are what happens when a company’s IVR sends a caller to the incorrect destination. When someone calls a customer service line and ends up someplace they didn’t intend, it’s usually the work of a misroute. Misroutes occur for a variety of reasons: outdated speech technology that incorrectly recognizes a caller’s words or confusing phone menus that force annoyed customers to ask for a live person. Imagine telling your GPS to direct you to your friend Pete’s place and you end up at Pizza Place. You’ve been misrouted and you won’t be too happy.

According to Forrester, 40 percent of all customer interactions are handled over the phone, meaning it is the one channel that has the single greatest financial impact. When 82 percent of customers are likely to stop doing business with companies if they have a poor customer experience and 37 percent of consumers will stop doing business with a company after a single bad IVR interaction, you need to make them happy in order to keep the revenue flowing. And beyond frustrated customers, misroutes lead to longer hold and handle times, poor agent utilization and millions of dollars in unnecessary expense.


Good news on the road ahead

While getting the customer experience wrong can lead a business in an unwanted direction – getting it right can accelerate significant boosts in performance. Through our work helping many companies decrease misroutes, we’ve created a proven five step roadmap to modernize call routing and help executives evolve the IVR experience. This blog series outlines the five steps necessary to improve misroutes:

  1. Assess caller behavior
  2. Let callers lead the way
  3. Predict outcomes with small data
  4. Test system scalability
  5. Optimize and tune


Step 1: Assess caller behavior

Consumers calling in to a company’s IVR know what they want and leave tracks as to why they aren’t getting their issues resolved easily. The key is for every executive to start asking the right questions about their IVR:

  • Which pathways in the IVR are likely to result in a first contact resolution?
  • Which are likely to force customers to zero out, unnecessarily occupying an agent’s time?

Most call center executives today don’t have definitive answers to these questions. This is why assessing caller behaviors is the best place to start. The only way a business can get definitive answers to these questions is if they understand how customers interact with their IVR; companies need to become part of the call flow, like the GPS going turn by turn, or in this case step by step.


5 elements of an effective call flow assessment

A comprehensive assessment gives you clear insight into dead ends and areas which need immediate attention. Get a clear view of trouble spots by:

  • Recording interactions of customers with the IVR and with agents
  • Analyzing call flow
  • Understanding which interactions lead to self-service completions vs. forcing callers to zero out
  • Learning how many transfers, on average, are needed to create successful resolutions
  • Benchmarking findings against industry averages

Once an organization travels through the pathways of their IVR they will identify dead ends and the incorrect verbal signposts that misroute callers. Start by taking control of the flow and customers will trust the IVR like their GPS for a smoother road ahead.

Stay tuned for more on the next four steps to reduce misroutes and modernize the call center.

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Chris Caile

About Chris Caile

Chris Caile joined Nuance in September 2015 as senior solutions marketing manager for Nuance Conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Before joining Nuance, Caile worked in various marketing and sales support positions at Microsoft and Motorola and has over 20 years of experience in the high tech industry. Caile holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University with minors in mathematics and economics.