IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response and is an automated computer system that allows people to interact with the computer’s database, usually via telephone.
It started off with just the use of touch tone keypad recognition, but in more recent technology, is now also able to used with voice recognition. Customers are able to navigate through prerecorded menus to access information without the need of speaking to an actual customer service representative, saving the customer the time of waiting for information that should easily be at their fingertips.
A Brief History of IVR
IVR solutions were first deployed in the 1970’s for use in call centers, but it was expensive and the technology was still complicated. Not only that, but they were limited as to what words could be recognized. It was approximately a decade later that the technology became more affordable and cost effective. There was a wider range of vocabulary that the computer was able to recognize and more options were able to be saved and used in menus. Interactive voice response systems then became more highly invested in to help gather information about customers to better route customer calls to the proper department and to help with large call volumes.
Why It’s Important?
In today’s world, IVR voice solutions are used by almost all large companies with high call volumes in their customer service call centers. When a customer calls in to a company’s customer service line, rather than waiting for a general customer service representative to answer their call, take their information and then possibly transfer them to another department, customers are able to input their information into the automated system. The automated system then processes this information, asks more questions and gives more options if necessary, and the call is automatically transferred to the correct department.
In some cases, the information the customer needs is right in the automated system, therefore taking the need of speaking to an actual customer service representative away. For instance, a customer can call in, access their account through the automated system, listen to their account balance and then makes a payment. A customer service representative is not needed in this case, which saves the customer time by cutting out the waiting period. Customers want quality customer service and they expect it as fast as possible.
Let’s define IVR Benefits:
The benefits of using interactive voice response systems are endless. Not only do they save the customer time, but they also save the company money. Customers are more likely to stay with a company that has better customer service and faster customer service response times. In fact, here are some of the actual statistics:
- 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).
These statistics show that having a reliable, intuitive and intelligent IVR system for your customer service experience is essential. In fact, it is no longer optional. The statistics alone prove that customers prefer a company that has IVR solutions with better customer service availability, so there really is no need to question whether or not a company should be utilizing this valuable tool. Without it, companies lose customers, therefore losing unnecessary potential sales.