Call center technology has far outpaced the old standards of traditional onsite phone banks. With the advent of artificial intelligence and cloud integration, call centers — like many other industries — are working to better adopt new applications to streamline the calling process.
One such application is known as interactive voice response (IVR), essentially the telephonic menu a caller can use to route their call correctly. When you incorporate an IVR into your call center environment, you’re setting your business up for success.
First contact resolution is more likely
Even if you’re not well-versed in call center lingo, first contact resolution is fairly self-explanatory. It means that a caller had their issue adequately resolved within their first contact with your call center. The more calls a customer issue requires, the less likely they are to report a positive experience with your business. While it’s often the goal for any call environment, it can be fairly difficult to consistently achieve.
IVR systems greatly increase the likelihood that a customer will find the proper solution on the first call. They help route calls more effectively to the available agent who is most capable of solving their problems. This also means that there is less of a probability that the call needs to be transferred to another department. It boosts customer retention and helps improve your reputation.
While an IVR isn’t a failsafe for first contact resolution, incorporating it into your call center is definitely a proactive step.
Operating a call center is a complex undertaking for even the most well-organized business owners. Not only do you have to make sure your office has the infrastructure to adequately run the center, it also needs to be well-staffed. This includes agents, techs for any hardware issues, and (sans-IVR) a receptionist to properly route each of your calls.
All of these serve to further raise costs and impact the added profits a call center has the potential to provide. This is also how an IVR can benefit your business. Instead of relying on a salaried employee to field initial inquiries, gather customer information, and correctly direct calls, a more cost-efficient IVR handles these tasks.
Have multiple callers reaching out at the same time? Instead of placing one or more customers on hold, you can instead field all inquiries simultaneously and direct them accordingly, all without human intervention. It’s speedier, it’s more effective, and it goes a long way towards saving your business money and improving your profit margins.
Improve your image
Even if you’re a small team with limited resources, you don’t have to present your company as a tiny operation. While you don’t need to put on an air that you’re a rapidly scaling Inc. 500 company, an IVR can help you appear more established to prospective customers.
Unfortunately, some customers hold onto the mindset that “bigger is always better,” which is a hard perception to shake. Use a call center IVR with specially customized prompts to help direct customers through to the various departments of your business, whether those departments are staffed by one employee or ten. It helps create an air of professionalism and entices customers to conduct further business with your company.
As you become more established, your IVR can handle the higher call volumes while still maintaining that same level of professionalism, regardless of your size and current scope of business.
If you’re running a call center and you’re wondering how to make the best use of your agents and infrastructure, it’s probably time to invest in some additional support software and applications. An IVR is a natural first step on the progressive path towards a better integrated call center that’s able to support your business.