Does Your IVR Really Save You Money?

Does Your IVR Really Save You Money?

As the original self-service tool, IVR technology has long been a cost savings mechanism. Unfortunately, many organizations today don’t realize that their antiquated IVR solution is actually driving up contact center costs because the options are so limited and the containment rate is so low. So, what can a new IVR do for you? Plenty. Here are just a handful of the many cost saving opportunities that can be realized when you replace your IVR.

IVR technology hasn’t stood still. Advanced features and capabilities address rising customer expectations. Conveniently, they also reduce your costs. Take, for example, a capability that isn’t exactly brand new, but has evaded widespread adoption, virtual queuing and call back functionality. Giving customers the option to be called back rather than waiting on hold addresses one of the top complaints customers have about customer service queues: it wastes their time. And by calling customers back, the contact center reduces toll-free costs since virtual queuing doesn’t incur telephone charges.

Conversational IVR is another example of advanced IVR functionality. Handling simple queries and transactions via speech recognition software helps you resolve these tasks faster (and for the customer, more naturally) than through a touchtone IVR menu. While older voice-based applications can cause customer frustration, today’s speech recognition capabilities have advanced by leaps and bounds. In addition, the rise of speech recognition software on smartphones has increased customers’ comfort with the technology.

Contact centers have to walk a narrow line between streamlining IVR menus and offering enough options to prevent customers from zeroing-out to request a customer service agent. Visual IVR helps address this problem.

ContactBabel reports, “Because it is far quicker to read text than to listen to text being spoken – some studies show that a caller can navigate a visual IVR menu between four and five times quicker than a DTMF IVR menu – the customer experience is improved without sacrificing any functionality or options.”  As a result, visual IVR can reduce your costs “through improved call avoidance and more accurate routing, improving first contact resolution and decreasing call transfer rates.”

Contact centers can also offset costs by increasing revenue through upselling or cross-selling. For instance, if you know that a customer is eligible for an increase in a line of credit or that a major life event is coming up, you can use hold times to present related offers to customers. These revenue-generating opportunities are possible with a modern IVR that leverages a context store. The context store is a data repository that holds information pertaining to your customers’ interactions. You can configure the IVR to query the context store after a customer is authenticated, and then generate an applicable offer.

The context store also enables you to personalize your customer’s IVR experience by proactively identifying the customer’s need. If the customer’s last interaction was to make a deposit, you might conclude that the customer is calling to confirm whether the check cleared and offer that information automatically, once again reducing call times.

The role of the IVR in the contact center has always been to reduce costs, and advances in IVR technology enable it to continue to do so. If your contact center costs are increasing or your IVR is lacking these features and capabilities, it may be time to declare your current IVR dead and look for its replacement. Would you like to learn more? Contact us today.