Nowadays, we’re living in an increasingly digitised age. Most of us run our businesses online. We advertise and market online, keep in touch with our customers through emails, make sales through our websites, and raise brand awareness through social media. This meets a lot of customers’ needs and preferences and can result in a whole lot more sales and, consequently, profit. But it’s important to remember the importance of direct human interaction for your business. Often, when customers have a question or want to figure something out, they’ll want to talk directly to a real person. This is why it’s always a good idea to have some sort of customer support department who can be contacted by phone. If you’re considering setting up this kind of department for your company, or you already have one up and running, you can really benefit from IVR. Though you might not have heard of IVR before, it’s extremely important. Let’s take a moment to get to grips with the basics and determine whether it’s something that could significantly benefit you!
What is IVR?
When you phone a helpline and you’re greeted with an automated message, this is IVR. IVR stands for interactive voice response. When customers call with queries, complaints, or want to talk to an advisor for any other reason, IVR will be able to whittle down their needs and send them in the right direction. You may get them to press one for sales, two to pay a bill, three to speak to an advisor, or whatever options you may need. This can reduce the amount of back and forth between different staff in your office space. Customers can be sent straight to the right place and have their issue dealt with quickly and easily!
What Can IVR Do For Your Business?
IVR comes hand in hand with a host of features that can benefit your business. Here are some of the things it can help you with.
- Configuring a Message and Prompts – chances are you can organise your general customers queries and complaints into distinct categories. People don’t tend to ask random questions out of the blue. Determining what they want help with can send them to the right team. When you set up Cloud IVR, you can split your customers into groups who can then be helped appropriately.
- Personal Recordings vs. Pre-Recorded Recordings – you can record your own message to make it personal. However, if you want to maintain a more professional approach, you can choose from many pre-recorded messages.
- Automated Support – some queries can be answered with pre-recorded answers. IVR can determine if your customer has a specific request and may be able to play information that will deal with their issue quickly and without even having to be put through to a member of staff. This can save staff’s time and prove more convenient for the caller.
- Prioritising Calls – if some callers are likely to provide more value to your company than others, their calls can be prioritised, ensuring they are spoken to sooner and you don’t miss out on their custom. For example, callers wanting to make a purchase or sign up to a service can be put through ahead of existing customers. This can prevent them from hanging up for being on hold for too long, consequently reducing the number of lost sales.
- Dealing With High Call Volumes – sometimes you will have a lot of people calling at once. This will generally happen at peak times, such as lunch time when people are taking their breaks and doing a little personal admin. If there’s a long wait, you may be able to use IVR to offer callers the option of hanging up and having a customer support officer call back. This can be a lot more convenient for your customers.
Of course, it’s always good to give your customers as many options as possible. While contacting your company by phone will be great for some, it might not be the best or preferred choice of others. Here are a few alternatives that you might want to consider!
- Instant Chat – many people feel more comfortable messaging through an instant messaging service than talking over the phone. So, set up an option for instant chat on your website. This way, people can click to be connected to an agent and then type out their queries. This is also good for ensuring your staff are doing their jobs correctly and giving the correct advice, as chats can easily be monitored.
- Social Media – some people like to communicate through social media. So, make sure your brand has social media options set up on every platform. This way people can get in touch in multiple ways. Of course, you’re going to need to make sure you have someone monitoring these platforms and that they give appropriate replies. Controversial Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram posts can go viral extremely quickly.
- Email – email is also a common means of communication between people and companies. Make sure you have an email contact address somewhere on your website that people can use.
- A Web Form – it’s also common to have a form on your website’s contact page. This should have fields for the person to input their full name, an email address you can use to get back in touch with them and a field for them to write their message in. Finish it off with a submit button!
Sure, you might not have considered IVR before. You might not have even heard of it! But it could be something worth considering. If not, make sure you at least have one of the other contact options listed. It’s important to maintain good contact with your customers!