Tactical improvements to the IVR helps retail group give callers faster, smarter, and more engaging experiences
At Shop Direct Group (SDG), the phones never stop ringing. With six unique brands managing over 31 million calls per year, the contact centre is right at the core of the business. So, when they wanted to improve caller experiences, cut average call times, and make the IVR smarter and more welcoming, SDG got in touch with VoxGen.
By learning from their agents, analysing customer contact experiences, and conducting upfront customer research, we were able to design a range of new IVR modules to serve the individual needs of SDG’s six brands. Today, callers get routed to an appropriate agent faster, and that agent knows who they are, thanks to automated identification and verification in the IVR.
But developing the new IVR functionality was just the start of VoxGen’s relationship with SDG. Through a process of continuous analysis and iteration, we’ve made a huge number of incremental improvements and updates to the IVR since the initial project.
With VoxGen’s help:
85% of callers are now identified and verified in the automated system
88% of customers prefer the automated system to transferring to an offshore agent
82% of customers rate the IVR 7/10 and 50% rate it 10/10
Self-service uptake has increased by 20%
The Challenge: Improving customer experiences for 31 million callers
With such a high volume of calls coming into SDG’s contact centre every day, something had to be done to cut call durations, improve routing, and contain more requests within the IVR. Achieving all of this required us to design some powerful new modules—keeping customer experience in mind.
Because the vast majority of SDG’s customer contact was happening by phone, it was also where the group found most opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. When creating the new modules, we had to ensure that customers would still be able to hear about offers and discounts—without making the system sound like an automated salesperson.
The Solution: A three-phase customer-centric IVR overhaul
To minimise disruption and ensure that the new functionality would be well received by customers, we carried out prototype usability research upfront, making any design tweaks resulting from customer feedback. The IVR updates were then deployed in three phases:
Phase 1 introduced identification and verification for all calls, to identify each caller and understand their reason for calling before routing them to an appropriate agent.
Phase 2 saw the implementation of self-service for common requests like payments, order status, returns, account information, and catalogue orders—removing the need for callers to wait for an agent.
Phase 3 was the design of a personalised on-hold experience. We recorded on-hold messages for each of SDG’s brands, ensuring that callers only hear messages relating to the brand they are calling.
2.1/5: average customer rating of the helpfulness of the information they heard while waiting
4.1/5: average customer rating with the new on-hold experience in place.
Continuous improvement based on testing and learning is part of VoxGen’s IVR design philosophy. As we manage SDG’s IVR for the client on a managed service basis, we’re able to monitor usage and routinely update the system accordingly. In this way we can keep SDG’s IVR experience as fresh and relevant as the day the new functions were first deployed—and avoid IVR rot[F1] .
The Results: Shorter calls and happier callers
With the new modules in place, customers get faster, more relevant service, agents spend less time asking the same questions at the start of every call, and the business saves money by containing more calls within the IVR.