Today, IVR systems are so intelligent, so full of customer information and, in many cases, so well connected within the omnichannel that they provide a level of quality customer service that is as extensive and friendly as any channel. Many calls—even complex calls—are handled more quickly, more easily, and more completely (for the customer and for you) with an IVR.
But your customers don’t know that. In fact, it’s a good bet they assume just the opposite. That if it’s IVR, it’s got to be hard.
So the question has to be: what are you doing to educate and encourage your customers to move to automated self service—through the IVR and other channels?
There’s an even better question. What is your IVR doing to sell itself to your customers?
Here are a few ways to do that.
Consider the caller who pays by phone every month, and who always pays directly to an agent. What’s the IVR’s message?
Hi Robb. I see it’s time for your monthly premium payment. If that’s why you’re calling, say Yes or Press 1. OK, great. For your convenience, I can help you with that payment right now. Or if you prefer, you can speak to an agent by saying Agent or pressing 1.
If they say No, if they want to speak to an agent, that’s not the end of things. Before the call is transferred your IVR can still make a pitch.
I’ll transfer you now. At the end of you call I’d like to tell you about a special offer. If you’d like to hear that offer, Say Yes or Press 5.
When that call is transferred to an agent, are they selling the IVR too? They can satisfy the caller’s need, and then let her know that had she done it through the IVR, she could have been off the phone sooner. In fact, your agents can become the sales rep for the IVR. When the call is answered, that agent can help.
If it’s all right with you, Robb, I’d like to show you how you can pay your bill faster each month using our automated IVR.
In the end, the goal is not IVR usage rates. It’s agent liberation rates—keeping call loads as low as possible using other channels—any other channel. Your IVR can be smart here too. If there’s a better alternative for handling the particular issue than either live agent or IVR, your system should let the customer know.
OK, you want to check the status of your order. I see you have multiple orders. It’s even easier to check through our app or web site. Do you want to try that? You’ll continue where we left off. Press 1 to have a link sent by text, Press 2 to have a link sent by email, Press 3 to continue here.
I’ve mentioned a few ideas—all of them practical and doable right now. It’s possible that you’re already using your IVR as a selling channel for your products (I talked about that in this post). Why not take it one step further, and let the IVR sell itself?
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