When things change in your business, your IVR often needs to change too. Yet for many contact centres, making reactive changes to the IVR is either too difficult, or results in a broken customer experience. We look at how to do it properly.
Circumstances change all the time in the real world, and a good IVR is one that can keep up with those changes. For a retail organisation, the launch of a new product may lead to a flood of enquiries. For a local authority, a real flood may lead to a huge surge in calls for sandbags and pumping equipment.
Contact centres need to be able to manage these peaks, and resolving specific enquiries within the IVR is one way to do it. That means making the IVR flexible enough for non-technical staff to modify it – without damaging the customer experience.
While your IVR is a business-critical application and significant changes should not be taken lightly, it should still be easy to change things like routing destinations and opening hours without any risk of breaking the experience.
Help staff make the right changes, the right way
The ability to insert broadcast messages can help contact centre staff make small changes to the flow – to handle sudden spikes in call volume, for example – but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.
Too often a hastily-recorded broadcast message is tacked on to the beginning of the call flow, so every caller has to sit through it, whether it affects them or not. And then no one sets the message to expire or remembers to remove it afterwards, so every caller has to sit through a message about a water leak that happened last week and has long been fixed.
The exact placement of a broadcast message in an IVR call flow may seem a small consideration – but it’s the kind of thing that deeply colours a caller’s perception of the brand.
4 tips to help you do it right
This is something that’s easy to fix with the right planning, the right tools and a bit of practical training for contact centre staff.
Tip #1: Rather than having a contact centre agent hastily record a message in a voice that’s different from the IVR persona, have the original voice actor record a bank of potential broadcast messages in advance. Then make them available to drop into the call flow when needed.
Tip #2: Train contact centre staff to recognise where a broadcast message should fit into the call flow, so they place the message there, rather than upfront where everyone has to hear it.
Tip #3: Consider data-driven broadcast messages, which are only heard by specific customer groups, or interactive messages, which play a short message and then let customers request more information if they need it, so you can provide more information to those that need it, and don’t frustrate everyone else.
Tip #4: Do some training (or refresher training) in how to set messages to expire or set alerts to remove them manually when they’re no longer needed.
Putting the principle into practice
When we worked with LIME, one of the biggest telecoms companies in the Caribbean, VoxGen implemented a data-driven, interactive broadcast message system with the aim of containing more calls within the IVR.
The simple, easily-insertable messages deflected 500,000 calls during the first eight months of operation – representing an 18% reduction in calls reaching the contact centre during outages. One-third of callers also opted to receive updates via SMS, further reducing call volumes.
Again, there’s nothing dramatic here – just small adjustments in the way you manage your IVR that can deliver huge returns in terms of increased customer satisfaction, faster call resolution, and other key customer service metrics.
Your IVR is one of your company’s most important points of contact. If the information it provides to customers isn’t as up-to-date and relevant as possible, they’re probably not going to have a great experience.
The only way to stay on top of change in the IVR is to empower contact centre staff to modify it themselves – but they must be given the prompts, tools and training to do it properly.