Five Ways to Choose the Right Interactive Voice Response System

By | August 28, 2014

The value of interactive voice response (IVR) is clear to most businesses. IVR delivers a professional image for businesses of any size, it cuts down on missed or misdirected calls, and it drives efficiency and customer satisfaction when designed right.

What many businesses are less certain about is how to choose the right IVR system; now all IVR is created equal, as anyone who has interacted with a limiting and inflexible IVR system will know.

Choosing the right IVR system comes down to five key elements: speed, ease of use, transparency, customer experience, and multichannel capabilities. Get these right, and you know you’ve probably found the right IVR system.

Speed, of course, is very important for an IVR system; is IVR rollout and adjustment quick and easy, or a beast of a project? A good IVR system will enable fast setup of IVR conversational flows, and make it easy to adjust the IVR system based on testing or changing needs.

Ease of use goes hand in hand with IVR setup speed. Setting up and maintaining must not only be fast but also easy to understand. That’s because if only one person in the office can make updates, it can slow down or halt the evolution of the IVR system. Worse, it might require the employee to relearn the IVR system every time there’s the need for an update, which of course can be a barrier to proper use.

So when looking for the right IVR solution, look for one with drag-and-drop functionality and easy-to-understand operation from the backend.

A third element to focus on is transparency. Iterative improvements to an IVR system are an essential feature of a good IVR implementation. Driving these improvements should be data on what’s working and where callers are getting in trouble. So a good IVR solution will have analytics built in to assist with iterative improvements.

Two ways that customer service is changing are through increased emphasis on the customer experience, and through a greatly expanding range of mediums on which customers want to communicate. A good IVR system will address both.

Look for multichannel support in an IVR system, one that can accommodate text messaging, chat, mobile, and other platforms. Customers will be impressed if you do.

Businesses also can leave a favorable impression on callers if the IVR system integrates with CRM functionality. Imagine if your customer calls and the IVR system already knows the caller based on the phone number being used. While not every IVR system supports CRM integration, some IVR systems such as Genesys Inbound IVR solutions include support for (News-Alert) and other CRM systems. This can be a big wow factor.

Not all IVR systems are created equal. The best come with speed, ease of use, transparency, customer experience, and multichannel capabilities.