Whether your contact center receives 100 calls a day or a hundred thousand, an IVR system can help your sales, service, and billing departments run more efficiently. While IVRs offer tremendous cost savings for companies, they can also be downright cumbersome, confusing, and infuriating for callers.
Perhaps the single most irritating aspect of the IVR experience is the process of identification and verification. Often a caller will be prompted to enter in an account number, the last four digits of their social security number, and a PIN before they’re transferred to a live representative. If they are able to jump through these initial hoops, they often reach a live operator who asks for the very same information. If the problem requires multiple calls, the caller is forced to provide this information again and again. In a nutshell, it’s frustrating!
Improving the quality of service of your IVR system means identifying opportunities to decrease the time and steps required to identify and verify callers. Fortunately, there are some new and creative ways to streamline this process. Here are a few ways to find out who’s calling while simplifying the identification and verification process for your callers.
- Caller Analysis
Before we launch into specific technologies that can help speed up the time it takes to identify and verify a caller, it’s well worth the effort to compile a list of your most common caller scenarios and the prevalence of each issue or question type. With this information, you can determine what prompts need to be created to expedite the process of getting callers to their destination. By taking the time to do this exercise, you can greatly reduce the incidences of callers having to identify and verify themselves multiple times while also slashing call resolution times.
- IVR Analytics
Reducing caller frustration means being more proactive. In the world of call centers, this requires the IVR system to engage with callers intelligently based upon prior data analysis. For example, your system most likely has the capabilities to recognize the phone number of a caller if they have called from that number before. Upon identifying the phone number, the system can bring up the caller’s purchase history and the reason they are possibly calling so that the prompts and live representatives can fast-forward through many of the identification and verification steps.
- Voice Biometrics
Commercially available since the late 1990s, voice biometrics has only recently been fine-tuned enough to be able to be integrated into IVR systems. Now this technology can be used as a business application to automate the process of verifying callers so that once a caller establishes a “voice print,” they no longer have to answer security questions or enter in PINs. Each caller’s voice has unique characteristics that are nearly impossible for ID thieves to steal or duplicate. This means that this innovative technology not only can reduce the time it takes you to verify a caller but it also can increase security. As more companies begin to introduce voice biometrics programs, the adoption of this technology is expected to increase rapidly.
- VHT Digital
Your callers most likely began the process of engaging with your company via your website, social media channels, or an app before they dialed into your call center. VHT Digital reduces wait times along with eliminating the need for callers to repeat information such as account and ID numbers. Instead of putting the responsibility on the customer or prospect to call you, you can obtain their profile information and give them the ability to request a callback that’s convenient for them. When the representative calls, they already have the caller’s details, eliminating the need for identification and verification. This truly takes service to a new level by eliminating many of those frustrating first steps that callers experience with having to navigate through a slow, complex IVR system.
- Visual IVR
With more callers than ever dialing from smartphones, menu-driven interfaces for IVR systems are now becoming a reality. Instead of a customer hearing a script with prompts to enter in ID/verification information, they now can see a visual display of options on their mobile device. Instead of listening to a voice and waiting for a prompt to enter information, callers can read a sentence faster and respond via a touch screen to speed up and simplify the caller experience. All companies that are currently using IVR systems should be considering ways to increase functionality by offering IVR capabilities to customers via smartphone applications. With the ubiquitousness of smartphones, visual IVR is simply the next step in call center technology.
By making a conscious effort to decrease the time it takes for a caller to be identified and verified, you can not only improve overall caller satisfaction but you will also increase the efficiency of your call center. New technologies combined with good old fashioned common sense can enable you to create an IVR system that quickly identifies callers so that they can get the help they need in as quickly as possible.