What a Multi-Level IVR Has That a Traditional One Doesn’t

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While interactive voice response (IVR) systems provide business call centers with automated call routing and convenient self-service options for their customers, a single-level option can be quite limiting. This is especially true for organizations with several offices spread across multiple locations. 

Meanwhile, a multi-level IVR system has a greater structure and a wider range of capabilities that traditional IVR systems simply can’t match. Beyond connecting multiple business offices to a single unified phone system, a multi-level IVR offers a host of other unique features that improve call routing and the overall experience for customers. 

What a Multi-Level IVR Can Do That a Traditional System Can’t

A multi-level IVR has a layered setup that stacks multiple menus on top of each other. With this infrastructure in place, it can operate in a fundamentally different way from single IVR systems. For many businesses, this can make an enormous difference. 

Multi-level IVR possesses a deeper hierarchy of menu options

While a traditional IVR system has a single-level menu with limited options, a multi-level IVR expands its hierarchy in three substantial ways:

Tiers of choices

Each menu option of a multi-level IVR can have its own submenu with its own set of even more specific options. 

For example, suppose a caller is on your main menu and selects an option labeled Account Details. In a single-layer IVR, this selection might only lead you to a recording that rattles off information or a hold queue to speak with a representative regarding your account. 

With a multi-level IVR, however, selecting Account Details could lead you to a submenu with options for things like checking an account balance, making a payment, finding out an invoice due date, and checking the latest transactions on the account.

Narrowly targeted and refined services

A multi-level IVR offers more specific services, allowing customers to make very specific choices on their own. 

For instance, instead of a single top-level menu, a multi-level IVR can extend into many branches and consist of several submenus of more specific options. 

Of course, a single-menu IVR could include all of these choices in the top menu, but that could take ages to read through—and most customers would hang up before listening to all of them. 

Enhanced call routing flows

With a multi-level IVR setup, call flow is optimized by the specific navigation paths created to assist in customer problem resolution. By giving customers highly specific routing options, they can reach their desired destinations sooner, thus boosting customer satisfaction rates and cutting down on key agent metrics like average handle time. 

With a single-level IVR, you miss out on all the added efficiency of call routing, leaving you with a more generic list of callers waiting in your agents’ queues. 

Additional features that a traditional IVR system doesn’t have compared to a multi-level one

When menus can be placed within menus, individual departments and customers can benefit from the sophisticated navigation options and flexible routing solutions they offer.

Multi-level IVRs also offer the following benefits and features:

  • Direct business numbers for each IVR menu. Some IVR platforms offer enough flexibility to do this independently of the organization’s call handling. 
  • Bilingual voice menu services. While single-level IVR is typically suited for audiences who generally speak the same language, multi-level platforms can offer services in multiple languages. 
  • Streamlined ticketing. With multiple menu options, customers can make more granular support queries. This also gives you the opportunity to make your ticketing system more specialized so that the proper team or department can handle certain customer queries. 
  • Improved metrics. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as reduced wait times and boosted call resolution rates save your customers valuable time and reduce call volumes.  
  • Enhanced input capabilities. A multi-level IVR can often extend its core functionality across several tiers, allowing customers to engage and submit information in more ways than just making an initial selection.
  • Precise call routing. Multiple phone tree layers facilitate complex calling categories to ensure your system effectively addresses customer needs. 

Full customer context through analytics and segmentation that helps your business in multiple ways

Because a multi-level IVR is an extension of a traditional IVR, it can significantly enhance your existing features. 

For example, the increased breadth that having multiple menus provides favors the possibility of segmentation, meaning you can get calls routed accurately a lot sooner. You can then tailor specific prompts and routing protocols so they can be handled by the proper services, departments, or even geographic regions. 

At the same time, by tracking callers as they navigate through your diverse menu options, you can gain a more comprehensive view of what your customers are most interested in calling about. If you find any patterns, it can help you rearrange your menu options to serve your customers better.

For instance, by the time a call reaches a live agent in a multi-level IVR setting, the menu choices they made along the way will already have been collected and entered into software logs, which inform various types of data analytics. 

For each customer, you have vital insights such as the following:

  • Data on which particular incident or incidents triggered their problem, highlighting the customer’s reason for calling.
  • A map of the customer journey that can be tweaked and scripted for optimal results.
  • Customer preferences such as preferred language and communication channels, which can help with personalization efforts.
  • Sentiment scores that highlight pain points in your products or services.
  • Customer schedules, which your system can use to provide automated reminders and notifications regarding payments and deadline-oriented tasks.  

Altogether, the more advanced the IVR menu system is, the more information it can collect when a caller interacts with it. If done well, a business can use this information to understand its customers and provide a better experience. 

Multi-level IVR offers more benefits than a single IVR system

Adopting multi-level IVR can be a massive leap toward enhancing your customer service effectiveness. In particular, it can streamline your business’s operational efficiency by improving call resolution rates and making the overall system more scalable. 

Deploying multi-level IVR also provides unique benefits to both business owners and customers that traditional systems cannot match.

  • Flexible phone menus. A multi-level IVR system compels your team to test many ways to handle your inbound calls. This heightened focus on effective call routing translates into a more user-friendly system for your customers. 
  • More data collection. With its enhanced input capabilities, a multi-level IVR system allows you to collect more relevant data about your callers and their pain points.
  • Better customer service. Simply put, the improved call flow and routing capabilities of a system with more menu options can serve customers faster and with more attention to detail. 
  • Centralized business communications. A multi-level IVR can seamlessly connect several multiple offices and departments with a single business number. It can also apply a centralized route management system through a cloud-based solution so you can manage your phone system from various locations.  

Keep in mind that although small and medium-sized businesses can use multi-level IVR, it is typically better suited for large organizations with dispersed office locations, several departments, and a vast customer base. Prime examples are customer service centers, retailers, telemarketers, and any organization that handles a large call volume across different regions or time zones. 

A multi-level IVR enables you to customize the system to fit your needs

Setting up a multi-level IVR allows you to create a menu that matches your brand and meets your customer demands. This close alignment is easier to pull off than with single-menu IVRs, especially in the following areas:

Caller identification and voice recognition

Multi-level IVRs are more likely to have advanced technologies that can provide conversational IVR experiences. Speech recognition, for example, can be vital for providing a more personalized service, therefore increasing customer satisfaction with the system.

In addition to having voice recognition capabilities, many advanced IVRs can recognize callers based on their phone numbers and subsequently pull up their information. If they have details about past interactions and locations, they can perform enhanced call routing.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

A multi-level IVR can also be better suited for collaborating with other call center software and functionalities. Specifically, the data-rich ecosystem can feed into CRM integrations that collect customer data and assist agents. With CRM integration, you can craft customizable and automated messages to answer common questions within the IVR.

Personalization and self-service tools

Robust IVR platforms worth their salt will come with adjustable settings to optimize your system according to your unique business and customer needs.

For example, if you want to offer more personalized service, advanced IVR platforms can be customized based on the most common customer inquiries and preferred menu options in your multi-level IVR. You can then use this information to create relevant self-service options and tools based on customer profiles. These tools can include booking and canceling appointments, changing passwords, retrieving account information, and scheduling callbacks.

If your business needs advanced tools and analysis, consider a system like Nextiva’s Advanced IVR. Built for complex call handling, Nextiva’s system replaces multi-level menus with automated call flows that support voice recognition and text-to-speech capabilities to personalize the entire IVR journey. 

It is also equipped with a smart attendant that helps you offer personalized and dynamic customer interactions to improve call routing efficiencies and the overall customer experience. 

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