Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Increase Caller Satisfaction with IVR Scripts that Work

A recent article with TMCnet, Business Phone Systems Important for Enhancing Customer Experience, notes that “choosing the right business phone system is as important as having a pleasing and friendly voice while interacting with a customer”. One of the most important components of a good voice recognition system is an effective voice recognition script. Callers can easily inform agents of their needs, but it isn’t so easy with an automated IVR system. Either callers wait around while the system rolls through an endless parade of menu options, or else they’re stuck repeating phrases that the speech recognition software does not recognize.

Dealing with a voice recognition system that doesn’t consider caller needs can dramatically decrease customer satisfaction. That is why the script for a voice recognition system is so crucial to the success of the overall IVR system. Optimizing the system functionality to consider the needs of callers can simulate the experience of talking to an agent and give the call an increased feel of spontaneity.

The TMC article addresses the problems associated with poor phone systems:
Often, we hear people complaining about poor customer service and it’s usually due to long hold, being rerouted to the wrong official, or poor sound quality. These glitches hamper the image of the company and the customer may not call again.
Thus, having a system that considers caller needs is crucial. Imagine how much faster and more pleasant it is for customers to call and ask a speech recognition system for store hours and have the necessary information in seconds. Rather than sitting there waiting for “Option 1… Option 2… Option 3…” and getting tied up in an endless list of menu items asking callers what they want, callers can go straight to the source of the issue, just as though talking to a live agent.

To function optimally, the IVR system has to know what callers want, and it takes extensive research of call history and IVR call monitoring to find out the kind of reasons people call. There need to be effective prompts and a logical call progression. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many options available for the design of voice recognition systems. As the TMC article states, “Functionalities and options available in each system are different and depending upon their needs, a company should decide in favor of a system that benefits them most.”

At the end of the day, an IVR system can’t replace a live agent for complex calls. A human agent is needed to resolve in-depth issues and mediate conflicts. But with a well-designed IVR script, agents are freed from simple, repetitive calls. Problems with call routing disappear with automatic IVR call-directing, and custom-designed IVR scripts can even interact with customers on hold to troubleshoot and try to resolve the problem independently, as well as to collect information for agents. The result? TMC puts it best:
In all, customer loyalty, profitable ROI and an improved business image are the results of having a good phone system in place.
Well-designed IVR scripting is one of the best means of enhancing caller experience and company image with a good voice recognition system.