All business owners are looking to find ways to optimise their and their employees’ time. After all, time is money. IVR greetings offer an affordable way to streamline the call process for both customers and employees. Today we are going to discuss what IVR greetings are and why your business needs them!
What are IVR Greetings?
Have you ever called a business, like a bank or a government agency? You probably encountered some voice instructions on how to navigate through the dial pad. This is a classic example of an IVR greeting. IVRs or Interactive Voice Responses are a technology that allows callers to navigate to the most appropriate receiver through the dial pad. Callers use a pre-set phone system to reach call operators or customer service agents. By pressing a particular item on the menu, it redirects callers to a particular item.
Some IVR only covers basic services that allow businesses to record automated voicemail messages and route calls. Others, however, offer website, database, and CRM integration, as well as reporting and bill processing.
What are the Benefits of Using IVR Greetings?
IVR systems reduce the need to place clients in a call queue. This means clients feel as though they are receiving better levels of customer service. The IVR system can field an incredibly large volume of callers, so there’s always a quick response to callers. And current technology means that responses can be detailed, precise, informative, and efficient. All your callers have to do is follow the instructions, and they can find the answer they are looking for.
In the modern world, clients expect a business to have a 24-hour presence. With IVR, you can have an around-the-clock presence that isn’t just confined to your website. As a result, you can actually take customer calls without paying for expensive manpower. It can also complement the personal service you provide within business hours and ensure your clients can access at least some of your services.
IVR actually allows for increased personalisation of your customer experience. The system can be modified and programmed to include personalised greetings based on the client or caller ID information. Businesses can even take this a step further and program IVR greetings to wish the caller a happy birthday if they happen to call on that day or customise the call to any other special events or occasions.
Further, companies with a global reach benefit greatly from IVR as a single system can be programmed in several languages, allowing it to field calls from around the world.
Start-ups and SMEs can utilise IVR greetings to create a more professional image. These systems give callers the impression that the company is large and busy enough to warrant the use of a response system. This can help you establish your business’ image.
Large companies also benefit from IVRs as they will be able to offer a more consistent and standardised form of customer service.
Without a 24/7 presence, businesses risk losing money. Callers and customers expect businesses to take sales calls outside traditional business hours. As a result, with IVR, your customers can still purchase products or services without having to talk to your salespeople or customer service. This not only increases sales, but also increases profit margins by saving on labour costs.
Further, by using call routing, you can increase workplace productivity. Callers are automatically routed to the correct staff member or department based on their choice in the IVR system. This saves an enormous amount of time, and it can also be used to prioritise calls when needed.
IVR ensures your entire call fielding process will be error-free. You can hire the most experienced and talented receptionists or call desk systems, but they are still prone to errors. And this is especially true under high call volumes. But with IVR, your customers will always be directed to the right place.
With IVR greeting systems, you are able to handle more calls than you could without it. IVR opens up a whole new world of automated responses that mean callers don’t necessarily need to talk to an agent. People with simple queries, like opening times, prices, etc., don’t necessarily need the help of a call agent. These answers can be programmed in as automatic responses. As a result, this opens your customer service agents and salespeople up to a broader call capacity to pick up more significant calls.
Using an automated response system, like IVR, allows your call agents to perform at their best. With the IVR directing callers to the right agent, this helps boost each call agent’s experience. It also means that a call is always routed to the person with the right solution to the caller’s question. As we said above, this improves productivity and allows your customer service agents and salespeople to solve queries and make sales faster.
Mishandled calls are an unfortunate reality of conventional call systems. This is due to the fact that traditional systems require agents to pass the call manually to the right receiver. An agent might not offer sufficient help, which leads to dropped calls. And in a complex organisation, this can prove to be catastrophic!
IVR, however, uses intelligent routing features to connect customers with the most capable agent on the first call. There is no need to take time to confer with different agents. Instead, IVR ensures the customer’s call is answered quickly, with minimal wait time and, as a result, higher customer satisfaction.
In general, calling a business number can be more expensive than calling an ordinary mobile number. And the pinch of higher call rates falls on the customer, who may end up disconnecting due to long wait times. Dropped calls mean that customer queries are unresolved, which ultimately hurts your business. IVR greetings send calls through in less time compared to traditional methods. And customers save both time and money when they get solutions from automated responses or by getting quickly routed to the correct customer service agent.
One of the most common uses of IVR is automating payment transactions. IVR makes it possible for customers to call companies to obtain their billing information or account balances, and then make payments themselves. However, IVR systems that offer payment processing are more expensive than those that don’t, but for many companies, the cost is much lower than hiring a customer service agent to process payments.
Features of IVR Greeting Systems
When it comes to choosing an IVR system, it is important to look carefully at the different features being offered. You need to pick the right solution to fit your needs. Below are some of the features of IVR systems on the market today:
Hosted IVR systems reside in the cloud, meaning the responsibility for maintaining and managing the servers and telecommunications falls on the vendors. In comparison, on-site IVR integrates with your existing telephone systems, meaning the maintenance of those systems falls on you. Most IVR systems offer cloud-hosted IVR over on-site IVR, and unless you have some reason for maintaining your system on-site, it’s best to choose a cloud system.
There are two basic types of IVR services, inbound and outbound. Inbound IVR systems handle incoming call volume. Outbound IVR systems make calls on either a total or partially automated dialling basis. Most companies offer both inbound and outbound IVR service, but inbound only services tend to be less expensive.
Modern IVR systems have built-in speech recognition that allows users to speak aloud in response to automated questions from the system. This replaces the old dial pad system to pick a number to reply to system questions. While speech recognition systems are pricier than basic dial pad systems, they are worth the cost if you need a more complex IVR system. But suppose you only need a basic IVR system to route calls in your office and give out basic information, like location and hours of operation. In that case, a dial pad system might be a better option than speech recognition.
A self-service IVR usually means the product or service is intended for basic use inbound calling. If your business only needs simple bill paying or call routing and doesn’t need outbound calling, then a self-service system might be your best option. It should be noted that many self-service options do not have speech recognition as they are only simple systems.
When researching IVR systems, it is worth asking if your system will include text-to-talk services. Text-to-talk is exactly what it sounds like. When setting up your IVR system, you simply type in a prompt, like “Please press 4”, and then you select from a menu of voices to say that prompt. Text-to-talk gives your IVR system a professional and consistent sound and means you don’t need to hire a voice actor or do any in-house recordings.
Make sure you ask if there are any limitations to the IVR text-to-talk service and if there are limits on how many recordings you can make, and how often you can change your menus.
When it comes to introducing new technology to your business, ensuring it integrates with existing databases, CRM, and websites, is extremely important. And IVR systems are no different. IVR systems that offer integration are often more expensive, but they offer a wider range of options for your business.
If your IR system is not integrated into your other business systems, a caller who is routed through to a live person will have to relay who they are, what their customer ID is, and all their other pertinent information. The customer service agent or salesperson will then have to look the customer up in the CRM or database.
In integrated IVR systems, a customer calling in could say or type in their name, password, customer ID, etc., and the IVR system would instantly access their information. It can then provide that information to the customer service agent or salesperson, streamlining the call process for both your business and the customer.
Integration is also essential for automated bill paying IVR services. It is helpful for delivering a higher level of customer service in general as it makes it easier for customers to access their information and easier for representatives to access information for the client.
Finally, before signing up for any IVR services, ask for a demo of the software system’s dashboard. You should also enquire about viewing the system’s analytics and how to pull up reports. Viewing the dashboard ahead of purchase will let you know how easy or how difficult it will be to operate the IVR system and if you need to change it. You will also be able to see if the data reports will be useful and cover what you need. This will help you make the final decision on what system you want to purchase.
Looking for more help and advice with your phone messaging systems? Image Online focuses on creating a nicer caller journey. Contact us today on how we can help you improve your caller journey!