Automated answering systems have made getting in touch with a business incredibly frustrating. Simply calling up to book an appointment can lead you to a rigorous questioning system, which if answered incorrectly sends you into a labyrinth of passwords, security questions and detail retrieval.
Surely there has to be an easier way?
Most incoming calls are from customers who want to speak to a representative. We know that despite lacking the one-to-one nature of an actual employee, self help IVR menus are a fast and cost effective way of connecting the customer with the right person or information.
But just how do you create a more simple and user-friendly IVR system?
Step 1: 24/7 Help is Essential
Due to the more flexible and connective nature of modern business, customers want to be able to reach you at any time of the day. By having your IVR menu open 24 hours a day, even when there is no one left to answer the phone, your IVR can still answer many simple enquiries, such as, store hours, locations, shipping info or can send your customer to the correct voicemail. This will in turn reduce the potential volume of calls during operating hours.
How do I make this out of hours service more user friendly?
Avoid sending your customers to despair and make sure your IVR comes to an end. If there is no one to answer, direct the calls to voicemail. Beware of sending your customer in an unending circle of frustration.
A personalised voicemail message for out of hours callers also adds a more human touch to your IVR service
Step 2: Keep It Simple
It might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked that the key to an effective IVR system is to keep options to a minimum. The more options, the more chance for customers getting lost, confused and frustrated.
Many people find that when presented with a long list to choose from it becomes hard to choose the category that best suites their reason for calling and remember which number corresponds to which category.
How do I make my options menu simple?
By presenting your caller with 3 or 4 initial broad categories that reflect the most common inquiries. As the call progresses the categories can then be divided into more specific branches relating to specific departments of problems.
Subsequently, it’s important to remember not to lead your customer through too many steps. It can be difficult to navigate an IVR system, especially for elderly customers, so avoid creating too many steps before being directed to a human operator.
Step 3: Sound Human
It might seem easier to let the computer do the talking, but a personalised greeting message and voicemail can really make the difference. A prerecorded message gives a more human touch to an automated system, helping to integrate your brand within the call system.
At byphone, you can create a personalised IVR message by simply uploading an mp3. Find out more here.
Step 4: Take a Minute to Listen
Your IVR system may be set-up to direct customers to where they need to go, but it can also serve as a valuable means of collecting valuable feedback. By enquiring about satisfaction or ease of use at the end of the call, you have an opportunity to collect primary data on your call systems.
Your customers will be honest about their experience and ways it can be improved – allowing you to adapt to better meet their needs.
This feedback can be used to simplify IVR menus, optimise staffing levels and improving overall company performance through better customer satisfaction.
Step 5: Know Your Customer
The easiest way to create a simple, but effective IVR is to know your customer and predict what what they’re most likely calling for.
By collecting data about your calls you can easily discover trends and patterns, you can use this data to help tailor your IVR system to most frequent calls. By organising your staffing to reflect these calls, you’ll create an improved call flow and shorter call waiting times.