Quit monkeying around: An IVR containment strategy is a must for driving loyalty

Bringing inbound customer contact center calls to a favorable resolution while staying completely contained within the IVR can bring significant business rewards to your company. But containment has to be done right. Consider this: Thirty-six percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company – more than once – after a bad customer service experience. Learn more about what a well-honed call containment strategy looks like in this three-part blog series.
IVR call containment can do more than just contain – it can provide a great customer experience that leads to a resolution for the customer and inspires loyalty.

What does the word “containment” really mean to a person? As I pondered this question, it occurred to me that the meaning of containment was entirely dependent on the context in which the word is used. For example, if you work in a nuclear power plant, containment means keeping the radiation on the other side of the concrete wall so you don’t die. Or if you are a prison guard, it means keeping the prisoners in their cells and away from you. Oh – and how about if you are a zookeeper? Containment likely means assuring that the animals with sharp claws and big teeth remain in their cages so that you and the public don’t become the happy meal of the day!

For the contact center executive, containment is one of the key goals for your company’s self-service Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to help drive decreased operational costs and increased customer satisfaction.

In fact, if you really want to achieve cost reduction in your contact center and also increase customer satisfaction, mastering call containment is a must. The Holy Grail in this case is not only containing calls within the automated system but also speeding customers along a frictionless journey to a resolution.

In today’s world, when seeking an answer to an issue, your customers will typically first go to the internet or your company website to find an answer. If they can’t find the information they need, they’ll then pick up the phone and call your contact center. In fact, our research shows that half of customers call the contact center when they can’t find the answer online. That’s when they hit your IVR system, and that’s your opportunity to provide an effortless experience that provides a resolution within the automated system.

Our research also shows that nearly nine in 10 consumers have used an automated self-service system to complete a transaction, such as paying a bill or scheduling an appointment with a company with whom they do business. And, the majority of consumers (59 percent) agree that automated self-service options have improved customer service. That’s good for your business as each call that is contained and resolved within the IVR is a small fraction of the cost for a live agent to handle the call when a customer “zeroes” out.

Customers that do “zero” out are likely going to be dissatisfied with the experience. After navigating a frustrating IVR menu without reaching a positive resolution, they are likely to take it out on your company. The same research mentioned above also found that 78 percent of consumers that suffered a poor customer service experience take action after that experience. What kind of actions you ask? Well, how about the following types:

  • 47% stopped conducting business with the company
  • 45% warned friends and family about the company
  • 38% contacted a manager about the poor service received
  • 31% wrote a negative online review
  • 9% scored the company poorly on a customer satisfaction survey

That’s not pretty. But, if done right, call containment can do more than just contain – it can provide a great customer experience that leads to a resolution for the customer within the IVR system. So what does such a loyalty-inspiring call containment strategy look like and how do you implement it? Stay tuned for Part Two of this blog series as I address that topic in more detail.

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James Mastan

About James Mastan

James Mastan is Director of Solutions Marketing in the Nuance Enterprise division, and has over twenty years of high-tech marketing experience. Previously, James held various marketing leadership positions at Microsoft and more recently founded and ran a marketing consulting company and a mobile application start-up company.