4 Signs You Need to Upgrade to An Intelligent IVR

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Traditional IVR systems can route callers to the right department and the next available live agent. Overall, it’s a simple and pretty straightforward system; when a customer calls a service line, they’re greeted by an automated voice recording and presented with some menu options. 

In many cases, this is all a business needs. In other cases, it’s not even close to being enough. 

Here are four signs that your traditional IVR is no longer cutting it and you should upgrade to an intelligent IVR system.

High Number of Low-Level Call Transfers

A traditional call center IVR system typically has a single-level menu and no true self-service options. For example, it might only have a list of instructions like “Press 1 for sales” and “Press 2 for technical support” that serve just one function: routing callers to individual calling queues. 

This means agents can be subjected to high volumes of low-level customer queries. These tasks can quickly become overwhelming and repetitive, leading to high levels of stress. For this reason (among many others), call centers tend to have high employee turnover rates, which can lead to a plethora of issues for both customers and the remaining staff.

Alternatively, an intelligent IVR system can be set up with many self-service menu options so that customers can take care of simple routine tasks themselves. These tasks include things like updating their personal details, requesting account information, and making payments without requiring help from an agent.

Thus, if high call volumes and long queues are bogging down your call center, switching from a traditional IVR to an intelligent one can make a huge difference. Not only will your agents have more free time to handle dynamic and interesting calls, but your customers will also be able to get their issues resolved without having to wait in long lines. 

Struggle With Call Volume During Peak Times

Keeping track of inbound and outbound call volumes can help you identify peak times and busy periods when agents are most likely to feel overwhelmed.

Traditional IVRs don’t monitor these things by default, but modern intelligent IVRs keep track of hold times, call abandonment rates, transfer rates, containment rates, and other useful metrics over time. These metrics can tell you how effective your team is at handling calls during peak times, and studying this data helps you forecast your staffing requirements ahead of time so that you can adequately meet customer demand.

To know if your IVR is in trouble, check your historical data for signs of struggle—such as average hold times exceeding two minutes, an opt-out rate above 10%, call abandonment rates above 8%, containment rates below 50%, transfer rates above 70%, or an average handle time (AHT) above 10 minutes. Missing any of these benchmarks could indicate that your IVR system isn’t very effective and it’s time to switch to an intelligent IVR.

Some of the things that an intelligent IVR will do to boost your numbers include:

  • Routing callers to self-service options and relevant departments with the most qualified call agents, which can help improve your containment and opt-out rates.
  • Implementing call-back features so that customers can keep their place in line without staying on hold, which can reduce your average hold times and abandonment rate. 

The Current Call Load is Resulting in Burnout

Even with an IVR system set up to route your calls to the right departments, your agents can be overloaded with the types of calls coming in. When faced with high call volumes, repetitive tasks, and a stressful work environment during peak times, agent performance can decline and quickly lead to burnout. To lighten the burden on your team, you may need to review the effectiveness of your IVR system.

One way to do this is to monitor your call agents when they have to deal with difficult customers and handle repetitive, time-consuming tasks all day long. If you see symptoms of avoidance, absenteeism, increased errors, irritability with customers, isolation from coworkers, low energy, and diminished work performance, these signs are a strong indicator that your IVR system is not properly equipped to handle customer inquiries. In other words, it’s time to upgrade to an intelligent IVR system.

Negative Customer Feedback About Your Current IVR System

One of the best ways to gauge the effectiveness of your IVR system is to collect customer feedback. It’s important to encourage every customer who calls in to point out what they like and don’t like about the system.

For example, if multiple callers tell your live agents that they had some difficulty navigating the IVR system before being transferred to a human agent, that’s a huge red flag that something is wrong. Alternatively, maybe your callers will tell you that they wish the IVR system had self-service options so they didn’t have to call in and wait on hold just to make a simple payment or book an appointment.

Constantly receiving negative feedback is a sign that you could seriously benefit from an intelligent IVR system. These systems have several features that can vastly improve customer satisfaction.

For example, intelligent IVR systems can offer 24/7 service so that customers can take care of routine issues themselves at any time, as long as it doesn’t need to happen during normal working hours. When the workday ends, for example, an intelligent IVR can be configured to switch to an after-hours menu with specific self-service options.

Meanwhile, if a live agent is required during regular hours, intelligent IVR systems are capable of smart routing calls to the best available agent according to relevant skills and expertise. This can lead to much greater resolution rates in addition to shorter handle times.

Customers with visual impairments can also benefit from the advanced speech recognition features of intelligent IVR systems, which can go beyond touch-tone responses and utilize natural language processing (NLP) to offer a more conversational and personalized customer experience.

Lastly, intelligent IVR systems can also access a customer’s history and provide more tailored responses to their inquiries. This makes a call center agent’s job that much easier—because everything they need to know about a customer’s previous relationship with the company will be available to them before they even pick up the phone. 

In the end, an intelligent IVR can improve nearly all of your call center’s relevant metrics, reduce stress on agents, make the customer experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more profitable business.

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