Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maximize your Call Center IVR Technology with Expanded IVR Scripts

I recently called a large financial organization and was surprised when their IVR system directed me to an agent. Their IVR technology could easily have resolved the call—but after being walked through multiple menus, I was sent through to the customer service department.

Call center IVR systems that are optimally designed should minimize the need for agent assistance. Thus, call center IVR technology can free agent time considerably. Much of the ROI on IVR systems comes from the benefit of self-service call center IVR. But what happens when callers zero out to an agent because they experience difficulty with the call center IVR? More often than not, these incidents of zeroing out are easily avoidable with an expanded IVR system script. An expanded IVR script serves to anticipate and address caller needs in any situation.

The more call center IVR technology can anticipate caller needs, the lower the need for agent involvement, and the greater the ROI on a call center IVR system.

That’s why it’s critical to understand why callers may choose to speak with a live agent rather than interact with an IVR system. When a caller encounters an issue that cannot be resolved by the call center IVR, he or she will zero out. The solution is to customize call center IVR technology to address the unforeseen scenarios which may arise in interactions with an IVR system.

A case in point—I recently met with a client who was looking to cut 35% of his call center costs by updating his call center IVR system. A quick analysis showed an expanded call center IVR script could easily accomplish this goal. Callers were frequently zeroing out to live agents for simple issues that the call center IVR could handle. For example, callers often phoned to verify the particulars of their insurance coverage and were sent through to agents for this simple task. Not only were agents overloaded with a high volume of calls, but callers were unsatisfied with lengthy hold time. This issue could easily be remedied with a change to self-service call center IVR.

You may have had to zero out to an agent when interacting with IVR technology. If so, you know how incredibly frustrating it can be. In fact, there are many challenges that can be resolved with expanded call center IVR scripts. Callers may forget their account password and zero out to an agent to recover it. They may have lost their account number. They may not be able to complete a self-service call center IVR payment because their billing address is not up-to-date. In many cases, an agent will just go through a predefined sequence of questions that call center IVR technology could handle independently.

All it takes is an expanded IVR system script and a high awareness of caller behaviour. By isolating moments when callers zero out, you can develop call center IVR technology which will never leave callers waiting for agent assistance, frustrated with the lengthy hold time.