3 Ways Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Keeps Agents on the Phone

Nov 27, 2018

Posted In: ACD, Agent Efficiency, IVR Author: ClearTouch

MIT reports service-based businesses see higher customer satisfaction and retention rates when self-service meets customers’ actual needs. But if quality self-service IVR functions solve typical concerns and problems, what happens to a business’ call center agents? Do they keep a role in such a paradigm?

Absolutely. While customers can handle a lot of routine items on their own, they often require an agent’s assistance. IVR enables additional opportunities to keep agents productively occupied and on the phone. Here are three ways the technology does that.

IVR for Routine Calls and Agents for the Heavy Lifting

One of the immediate gains of a well-implemented IVR is a boost in SLAs and agent metrics. The power behind this boost in ROI comes from isolating those standard call types which could be quickly handled by customers with the right tools.

Minimum due payments, phone number updates, questions about hours of operations and frequently asked questions with fixed answers are a great place to start. Immediately you’ll notice only more difficult, agent-dependent tasks are what filter through those results, leaving your agents to tackle those questions which require time, talent and human intelligence. Depending on the volume of the low-difficulty tasks that can be self-cured in the system, you may see dramatic decreases in agents handling inbound calls for those frustratingly simple jobs.

Immediate Pass-Through

But not all customers wish to interact with an IVR system. They want to speak with an agent, now. These customers will not be appeased by an IVR system, no matter how customized and sophisticated it is. They ignore the pleasantries and repeatedly press “0” or a combination of other numbers in order to flag a call center agent’s attention.

And they get it with TCN’s IVR solution. When the system recognizes a frustrated customer, it immediately passes him or her through to a highly skilled agent. The agent can then diminish the anger and perhaps even turn a stressful, burdensome day into a joyful, restful one. The result isn’t easy to achieve, but the best agents often get the win if the customer hasn’t been frustrated by a no-escape IVR.

Informed Outbound Calls

IVR powers better voice-to-voice conversations, those arising from either call routing or immediate pass-through. But IVR enables another ability: informed outbound calls. TCN’s IVR system tracks and stores customer IVR navigation data in the Agent Gateway, TCN’s cloud-based call center dashboard.

Agents and managers can examine that information and identify target customers for specific outreach efforts. For example, a customer who uses the IVR to access information about immunizations might welcome a call about nearby clinic and pharmacy choices. Agents can share that information, creating a beneficial and holistic customer experience.

Other Benefits of the IVR

So far, this article touches upon the ways TCN’s IVR system keeps agents on the phone. But TCN’s IVR awards other advantages, including the following five.

1. IVR delivers real-time operational statistics and efficiency benchmarks. Managers and executives can look at these numbers throughout the day, using them to guide current and future communication efforts. They can also compare them to historical figures, which helps forecast scheduling needs.
2. TCN’s IVR saves on typical operating and staff costs. Some call centers and businesses buy expensive hardware or hire extra agents to solve low customer satisfaction scores. TCN offers a way to increase those scores without exceeding the budget.
3. TCN’s IVR comes integrated with free call recording. These recordings can be paused at any time to ensure customers’ data stays private. The ability to interrupt call recordings also helps call center compliance efforts.
4. TCN delivers IVR functionality within hours. A call center that needs to update a scripting template need never worry about lost opportunities or revenue. TCN, with its rapid IVR deployment service, increases uptime and chances to exceed customers’ expectations.
5. TCN’s IVR is easy to use. Most call centers find it so simple to setup and deploy TCN’s IVR that they begin launching their own IVR pathways. However, TCN’s representatives are always available to guide clients through the IVR tool.

All kinds of businesses use IVR to lower operational costs, heighten agent efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction. You can learn more about how TCN fattens the bottom line in other ways by downloading “Implementing TCN to Increase Profit Margins” today.

About the Author: ClearTouch

ClearToucn Powered by TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, ClearTouch combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations and adhere to TCPA regulations. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the ClearTouch solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. ClearTouch serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.