Five Ways Interactive Voice Response Can Improve Your Business
IVR Key Takeaways:
- IVR is a call center technology system that interacts with human callers via voice, DTMF signaling, and more.
- It is commonly deployed by service providers to facilitate customer support.
- It can be used to improve business in (at least) five different ways.
First things first, what is IVR?
IVR, short for Interactive Voice Response, is a call center technology system that interacts with human callers via voice, dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signaling, and more.
Perhaps the most familiar example of IVR can be found in the telecommunications industry, where most service providers leverage it to bolster customer support. Indeed, by offloading simple — or at the very least common — customer support queries to IVR, providers can accommodate far more support requests than if they were to rely purely on human-to-human engagement.
How do users interact with IVR?
If you’ve ever called customer support, especially for a Wi-Fi or cellular provider, you’ve probably interacted with an IVR system. Generally, it will begin with a prompt, such as “To continue in English, press 1, for Spanish, press 2… etc.”
From here callers can typically communicate with the system in two ways. They can:
- Select the appropriate option via their phones’ keypads, which emit DTMF signals, or
- Say their answers aloud, so that they can be processed via a speech recognition system.
These voice and touch-tone inputs enable IVR systems to gather relevant caller information and route them accordingly.
Moreover, Interactive Voice Response can provide callers with information via pre-recorded audio. As such, depending on the circumstances, callers may not need to wait for a company representative to take their calls.
How can IVR be used to improve business?
- Measure quality of customer support with phone surveys
Here’s the dirty secret of IVR: people don’t like calling customer support. Think about it, they’re likely calling because something isn’t working. They’ve probably spent the better part of an hour looking for solutions online, only to come up empty handed. So, by the time they dial your support line, they’ve already conceded defeat and are preparing themselves for hours on the phone. At this point, all you can do is provide the best possible quality of service. One way to guarantee this is to conduct phone surveys to measure customer satisfaction. Businesses can use IVR to administer both inbound and outbound phone surveys that gather invaluable customer feedback which can be used to improve your customer support practices.
- Collect feedback for beta tests and new offerings
Similarly, IVR can be used to collect feedback for beta tests and new products. Indeed, high quality feedback gives product developers the ability to refine the offering and address any critical weaknesses before it officially goes to market.
- Conduct market research
For the marketing team, IVR surveys can be used to home in on anything from key demographic information to customer habits and preferences. Information collected via market research surveys can then be leveraged to develop well-defined audience personas, precise messaging, and bespoke campaigns.
- Generate leads via IVR marketing campaigns
There’s no silver bullet for generating leads; mostly it requires nothing less than blood, toil, tears, and sweat. Still, IVR can augment tried and tested methods like “smiling and dialing,” enabling sales and marketing teams to reach more potential customers more efficiently.
- Qualify phone leads
Along the same lines, IVR campaigns can be used to qualify leads. Due to the interactive nature of IVR, certain campaigns — such as surveys — can be used to score prospects based on their apparent level of interest. This can be determined by call time, the number of questions answered, and, of course, how respondents answered the questions. Leads that register sufficiently high scores can then be passed to sales, along with any relevant information gathered via the survey.