If you’re an SME that has already installed a VoIP system, you probably have somewhat of an understanding as to how important IVR (interactive voice response) technology is for your business. Most VoIP services like Telzio includes the IVR feature to improve your ROI (return on investment), address customer service issues and reduce your call center payroll costs. But there are other factors that should be taken into consideration as well.
In its simplest form, IVR is basically an automated attendant that typically responds to callers with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio that provides them with instructions as to how to proceed. Anyone who’s called a credit card company or bank is most likely familiar with the process.
IVR technology requires touch-tone or speech-recognition technology to answer customer questions, handle their requests or point them in the right direction. In most cases, this is all done without the need for a customer to speak directly with an employee.
Since most SMEs don’t have the luxury of hiring switchboard or call center employees whose sole responsibility is to answer the phone, IVRs are pretty much mandatory for routing calls, answering FAQs about one’s company and addressing basic customer-service issues.
The challenge is finding a VoIP system that includes a cost-effective IVR platform that will improve customer service.
IVRs allot small businesses with the opportunity to present themselves as professional as a large brand. Jim Gustke, vice president of marketing at Ooma told Business News Daily that, “no matter the size or type, every business should have the tools and solutions needed to present themselves in a professional manner, while maximizing their ability to work efficiently and stay connected to customers and co-workers.”
Telzio provides standard and toll-free numbers from over 50 countries, and every phone number includes a complete business phone system.
For as low as $1 per month, Telzio IVR menus include automated greetings with button options. Their process makes it super-easy for the caller to be directed to the service or department that will point them quickly in the direction they desire (e.g. Press 1 for sales, 2 for support).
With Telzio, you can also customize the IVR menu with recorded company greetings to provide important information, such as business hours, company directory, and other any other information you feel is important for your caller to know.
Each button on the keypad can also be used to direct callers to a designated action, like call forwarding, voicemail, a conference call, or another menu.
And advanced settings allow you to customize your IVR menu even further. Callers can select the ‘timeout’ action to create another action, such as call forwarding to an operator. These automated messages can repeat the instructions multiple times if your caller needs more time to decide. And you can designate one of the buttons on the keypad to allow callers to go back to the previous menu, or request to speak to a customer-service representative.
Your callers are most likely to become repeat customers, if your IVR provides the best customer service experience possible, with quick and expeditious response times.
These 2013 stats will give you some insight as to how important a well-thought-out IVR system is to your business:
- Companies who measure support center success across email, chat, web, and voice, and 62% use integrated voice response (IVR). (Source: Aberdeen Group).
- 79% of customers that had a negative experience with a company told others about it. (Source: Harris Interactive).
- 86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer service experience, which is up from 59% just 4 years ago. (Source: Harris Interactive).
- 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. (Source: Harris Interactive).
- By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. (Source: Gartner).
P.S., with IVR you might not be all things, but. . .
While the old saying “you can’t be all things to all people” holds true for any business, obtaining an VoIP system with an advanced IVR menu will definitely give you a leg up over the competition that lacks this service.
Customers who have been proactive enough to call your business deserve your utmost attention. A customer service representative is not needed in all cases as long as your IVR menu is comprehensive enough to address their issues in a manner that makes them feel attended to. However, while you want automation to speed up your business’ workflow, an effective IVR system should never eliminate human interaction altogether. While IVRs will cut costs and reduce the caller’s wait time – it’s just commonsense, that you never want to lose a call because a customer prefers to talk to a live customer-service representative versus a recording.
Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog. Previously a Director of Advertising and Public Relations at Marriott International, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.