Part 2: Why 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. Here are some rules and insights that can help you maximize call containment and create an effortless experience for your customers.
IVR call containment can provide a great customer experience that reduces costs and inspires customer loyalty.

In my previous post, I highlighted that mastering call containment is a must if you want to reduce costs in your contact center and increase customer satisfaction. While the primary goal of cost containment centers is to contain costs, it can do more than just contain if done right. It can provide a great customer experience that leads to an effortless resolution for the customer within the IVR system. In this post, we will discuss three key rules to maximize cost containment and deliver an effortless customer experience.

The first rule is very straightforward: create a great first impression. The right first impression can go a long way in preventing customers from “zeroing out” ­– pressing zero to bypass the system and reach a live agent faster. Some tips to put your best foot forward and create that great first impression include:

  • Keep it simple: Avoid unnecessary upfront language that wastes the consumer’s time. Get right to the point and don’t include prompts that add no value.
  • Streamline authentication: Make it easy for customers to verify their identity without the need for complex passwords and multiple security questions. Voice biometrics can assist by allowing customers to verify their identity with the one password they’ll never forget – their voice.
  • Make it a conversation, not a phone tree: Let your customers access what they need on the “first level menu.” For example, natural language understanding enables customers to say what they need in their own words, avoiding tedious menu navigation and increasing call containment.

Secondly, businesses need to create an effortless Interactive Voice Response (IVR) application design. Designing IVR applications is both an art and a science, and getting the blend correct can make or break the user experience. To design a successful IVR application, companies should keep prompts brief so that the call – and your customer’s patience – isn’t stretched too far.

Businesses should also look for ways to optimize how customers can easily reach an agent if they cannot solve their needs through the IVR.

The inability to easily reach a live person when needed can create a negative impression of your organization. If the IVR can help them in lieu of transferring to an agent or keeping them on a long hold waiting for an agent, it should – but there will always be situations that call for a human touch.

Finally, organizations should aim to keep your customers happy by helping them avoid issues in the first place. This can be done by using proactive engagement to reach them with the information and reminders they need on the channels they prefer – whether it’s via email, automated voice call, or text messages. In fact, 85 percent of American consumers say they are interested in receiving proactive messages from the companies they do business with. Proactive communications can help reduce the number of inbound calls, which can help lower operational costs, and speed resolutions by linking the outbound action to provide context when a customer does call into the IVR to move things along more quickly.

For example, if a customer received a text regarding a payment they owe, the inbound IVR could connect to that information to know why they are likely calling. This allows the IVR to skip the menu of options and address the payment deadline from the start.

Following the above rules can help provide a great customer experience that leads to a great resolution for the customer within the IVR system. But how do you implement these rules and put them into practice? Stay tuned as we’ll cover that in part three of this blog series.

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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.