What is IVR and How it Benefits your Business?

11 - Jan - 2021 All   Customer Satisfaction   Customer Support   Integrations   Marketing  

What is an IVR ?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response technology.  It is a large umbrella of software-based communication systems called Computer Telephony integration or CTI. Firms offering IVR services enable recording automated voicemail messages and routing calls. IVR can also be used in other aspects of business such as website, database and CRM integration, reporting and bill processing.

In the past, IVR was only connected to telephonic calls where an automated voice recording would communicate with the customer. You would need to press a number to navigate the system. With new IVR customers can speak directly with the system speech recognition. However, button based low-cost IVR are still used by many businesses.

Visual IVR is another aspect presented by IVR providers. Usually, organizations that provide graphic IVR also provide traditional IVR (phone). This IVR shifts the first phase of customer interaction from the telephone to a device such as a smartphone or a laptop. Hence, the customer themselves gives the preferred mode of customer service they like by filling the information online. Such calls can be transferred to the appropriate agent via visual IVR instantly bypassing the touch-tone or voice-activated process.

Similar to visual IVR, voice IVR will help overhaul your contact center systems and create a better customer experience. Voice recognition is a system’s capacity to process natural language inputs provided by the customer. This is the job of a voice bot that can provide intelligent cues and understand what the customer’s response is using conversational AI. Natural Language Precessing (NLP) is also readily used for IVR. For example, at home we interact with  devices like Alexa, Google Home or Amazon Fire stick. We also use NLP for smartphone’s virtual assistants such as Siri or OK Google.

IVR Scenario with Voice Bot

IVR scenario with voicebot

This technology helps ease the effort for customers to move away from using the keypad on the phone. This helps  to create a smooth IVR experience.

The interactive voice response (IVR) market was valued at USD 3.44 Billion in 2016. It is projected to shoot up to USD 5.54 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.83% during the forecast period. The same has been illustrated in the graph below:

Source: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Images/interactive-voice-response-market1.jpg

Why Do Businesses Require IVR?

If you are a business owner, you are definitely looking at the potential to optimize your employee productivity. Using an IVR helps you to reduce redundant tasks thereby streamlining your operations. IVR as a tool provides businesses with an affordable manner to streamline their calling procedures for customers and employees. Here are the main reasons why a business would benefit from using IVR services:

  • Effective Customer Service
    Fast-growing businesses often find themselves without adequate customer service agents or supporting technology.  IVR solutions can be implemented quickly and can be scaled up as per your growth easily. Hence, you will be able to reduce your wait times for clients. IVR also influences the aspect of hiring more employees to scan the questions and direct calls to the appropriate agent. According to Mckinsey reports, IVR systems can save a company around $100 million annually compared with the cost of handling agents.
  • Processing and Collection of Payments
    Automation of processing and completing payment transactions is one of the critical features of an IVR. Apart from processing outbound collections calls, IVR systems are also beneficial for inbound calls. Customers can contact organizations directly and make the payments themselves instead of being prompted frequently.
  • Communication and Marketing
    Outbound IVR is a useful tool for marketing. For example, you can notify your potential customers regarding a new product launch and also to communicate with your existing customers. If your company heavily relies on marketing for business, implementing an IVR system that specializes in call-center IVR as well as predictive dialing can be rewarding.
  • Automated Services: IVR is a very handy tool to configure automated OTP services using voice inputs. You can also use IVR to intimate the customer about out of office (OOO), no show days or days off.

How to improve Customer Experience with IVR feature in ZIWO ?

ZIWO is a cloud based contact center that can be deployed instantly. You can manage Phone Calls, WhatsApp, SMS on one platform. Key features include IVR, Call Tracking, CDR, Call Whispering. ZIWO is fully API with readymade CRM Plugins. It offers phone numbers in GCC along with 145+ countries.  At ZIWO, the IVR system is highly flexible and allows you to create multiple solutions by taking into account all the possible scenarios.

Here are some real world IVR scenarios:

Scenario 1: Basic IVR function:

Most of the companies using ZIWO IVR use 2 basic scenarios when they deal with customer service teams. This IVR solution can however be modified to create more elaborate set-ups and responses on the request of our clients.

  • IVR with a welcome message followed by a request to wait in the queue
  • IVR with a a welcome message followed by language selection and a request to wait in the queue.

Scenario 2: IVR set up to Define Working Hours

Clients can define more accurate IVR scenarios and paths. The basic request is to define the standard working hours period which can be seen illustrated below:

IVR Scenario defining working hours
IVR Scenario defining working hours

Source: www.ziwo.io

  • In the IVR screenshot above, calls are assigned to be forwarded to available executives from Monday to Friday between 08:00 to 18:00 hours.
  • Outside of these working hours, the customers will hear an audio file named “Ziwo_Test_File.mp3” (example). This includes a message that informs them that they are calling outside of the working hours, and asks them to call back later.
  • You can also establish a voicemail, another IVR with menus that can provide predefined responses, or send the call to an external number.

Scenario 3: Customized time slots in IVR menus

You can also set up more advanced customized time slots in IVR menu, for instance, during Ramadan. Some companies need an hour long pause during the day with a designated IVR message explaining the same during that period, and then go back to the normal routine.

The IVR system of the above mentioned scenario would look like :

  1. 00:00 to 07:59: Out of working hours audio message
  2. 08:00 to 2:59: Route the customers to available agents
  3. 3:00 to 13:59: Play a Ramadan specific audio message during this time slot
  4. 14:00 to 17:59: Send the customers to available agents
  5. From 18:00 to 23:59: Out of working hours audio message

This whole operation will be saved under a specific name, and takes only a couple of clicks on ZIWO web interface to return to the routine IVR scenario once Ramadan passes.

What are the advanced IVR Features for Businesses?

  • Complex IVR menus
    ZIWO provides an extensive list of complex IVR with menus, submenus to clients with more typical operational requirements.
  • IVR interaction with an API
    When a customer makes a call, an API call will be made through cURL waiting for their answer. Depending on the inputs and direction, API with IVR will send the customer to their designated queue. These can be either a VIP queue, a regional queue based on the prefix of the caller’s number, repeat customers, problematic customers and more. The possibilities are infinite, but combining API with IVR can help you handle customers better by creating a queue to designated teams of agents. A simple API with IVR flow looks like this:
IVR API integration flow
IVR API integration flow

Source: www.ziwo.io

  • Smart IVR Routing
    Smart IVR routing allows your business to route calls based on the caller’s phone number. One can sort this either by phone number, range or country.
    For example, it is possible to define a list of numbers from a specific country code and forward them automatically to their designated IVR queue for personalized services. You can also set up an IVR system where all calls from a particular country have a specific action, such as being routed to a queue dedicated to this country, have a language or culture specific team of agents, play an IVR, blacklist them or more.

Few examples of dynamic routing with IVR are stated below:

Action to hang up on a blocked number - IVR
Action to hang up on a blocked number – IVR

Source: www.ziwo.io

All calls from the UK will be rerouted to the English IVR queue
All calls from the UK will be rerouted to the English IVR queue
  • Outgoing IVR
    ZIWO can also help you start an IVR with outgoing calls. This is generated through the ZIWO API which will allow the company agents to call a specific client with a predefined IVR.  Some IVR examples are mentioned below:

IVR Scenarios : Food Delivery Company

  • IVR Scenario with a reminder instruction to a restaurant for dispatching orders.
  • IVR Scenario reminding a restaurant or eatery that they have more than 10 orders pending to be dispatched and delivered.
  • In case of wrong deliveries on part of such restaurants, deliver an IVR message to the customer that a replacement item has been sent, and to accept or deny the replacement by using their APP.

IVR technology has changed rapidly over the last decade and has so much to offer to every organization, no matter what scale it is at. If your business deals with clients and customers to a moderate to a large extent you need to use the IVR system at ZIWO. This IVR setup will bring your employees an opportunity to spend their time and resources into areas that require improvement which in-turn will streamline your customer service related operations.




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