Get the Most out of Your Phone System with IVRs

By Brian Ferguson
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Getting the most out of your IVR- Digium

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) features, commonly known as auto attendants, are among the most underutilized tools in phone systems, today.  IVRs include a wide range of options and integration possibilities that can automate mundane and repetitive tasks for a business user, while also making the customer experience much more enjoyable. Admittedly, IVRs sometimes have a bad reputation because no one really likes calling into a company’s automated phone system. Yes, we’ve all had nightmare experiences involving round after round of button pressing and never getting to the person we really want to talk to. Or, we’ve had to use clunky voice recognition options that don’t seem to understand us even when we speak so slowly and so clearly that a real person would think we were making fun of them. Bad experiences aside, if you use IVRs the right way, they can be an integral part of your business processes and be truly useful for customers.

With a modern phone system, like Switchvox, you have the ability to integrate with third-party systems and provide creative and useful automated services that people will appreciate. Let’s take a look at how companies can take advantage of these underutilized tools to deliver quality customer experiences.

Handle Simple Call Requests

It’s very frustrating for customers to call into a company and have it be a complex and time consuming ordeal in order to get seemingly simple information.  Think about the last time you had an appliance delivered to your home.  It’s common practice to have the delivery company call you the day before or the morning of the scheduled delivery day and give you a window of time for the actual delivery.  Many times it seems that those times are not met, or that you have other things to do besides wait around for four hours.  So, you try to call the store and you get transferred to three different people trying to get an update on a more specific time of delivery.  We’ve all been in this situation with delivery companies, car repair services, cable service and countless others.

These types of situations are the perfect opportunity for companies to provide a great service to their customers while simultaneously reducing call volume. Not to mention, it also cuts down on having to disrupt staff (and decrease productivity) to handle these calls.  It’s very possible to create an IVR that has an option for Get an Update on Your Delivery/Repair/Service Call, and have the customer enter their customer number (or whichever identifier your company uses).  When they enter their number, the IVR does a look up in your company system for the latest status and reads it back to the customer.  Now the customer gets the information they need quickly and your staff is never interrupted.

Payment Over the Phone

There are companies out in the world today that make a ton of money providing payment services to businesses. Though many of them are moving more and more to online payment options, payment over the phone is still very popular.  In most instances, these companies are charging monthly service and transactional fees for something your phone system can deliver for you – free.  Stop paying for this unnecessary service. Take advantage of the IVR functionality available today and move your payment services in house.

Automate Outbound Calling

Many companies have the need to make a significant amount of outbound calls to inform their customers of upcoming appointments or events.  Doctors’ offices, accounts, insurance agencies, and schools, just to name a few, often pay a staff member to make these calls. This is the perfect example of the type of call that is easily automated, allowing that staff member to do something more valuable to the organization.

IVR systems, in combination with automatic dialing features, allow these types of organizations to automate repetitive and mundane tasks, delivering more efficiency to the company and greater employee satisfaction.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer feedback is extremely important to many different types of organizations.  In fact, companies spend millions of dollars a year developing and delivering customer satisfaction surveys to their customer base.  Did you know that the tools to build and measure those surveys are available (at no charge) as part of an advanced phone system? That’s right… IVRs allow you to easily create these surveys to occur after each customer interaction.  Not only can a phone system deliver the survey, but the reporting tools available in UC phone systems also allow you to report the results of those surveys, on demand.

IVRs are extremely powerful tools and, with a little thought and planning, can provide extremely useful services to your customers and provide a new level of efficiency to your company.  Best of all, Digium’s UC Switchvox system includes all features, including IVR, for one low price.

Sign up for a personalized demo and see for yourself how Switchvox can improve the customer experience for your company overnight!

 

What is the most annoying IVR experience you’ve had when calling a company? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Brian Ferguson

Brian Ferguson is the Product Marketing Manager for Switchvox. Since becoming part of the Digium team in 2010, Brian has worked in multiple sales and marketing roles supporting Diguim’s reseller channel and helping SMB customers use Digium solutions to solve their business telephony challenges. With an additional 10 years of sales management experience in a retail environment, Brian has extensive experience working with a diverse range of technical products and brings a unique perspective in helping problem solve for customers. He graduated with honors with a BS in Business Management from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He enjoys numerous, short walks on the beach (as opposed to long ones) and loves to travel.

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