- IVR stands for an interactive voice response system. These programs are used by call centers to route calls to agents.
- IVR systems are able to streamline the process of routing calls to ensure the appropriate agent is connected to the customer.
- IVR systems take trial and error to implement correctly, but high-quality systems with innovative features set a positive tone with customers.
What is IVR?
IVR stands for interactive voice response. IVR systems are programs designed to interact with live callers through voice recognition tools or telephone keypads. Instead of needing a live person to direct calls, the IVR system provides a way to get callers to the right department faster. IVR systems are a must for call centers to handle call volume.
How does IVR work?
IVR works by developing a menu system within your call network. The IVR will collect data through caller responses either through voice or keypad controls. The IVR system has the capacity to route callers to the correct department within an organization. According to Genesys, a leading provider of IVR software, the system allows for 24/7 and 365 days a year caller self-service.
Each IVR system is different, but most follow a traditional sequence. To start, the caller dials in and is greeted by a pre-recorded message. The IVR may start off by asking language preference before presenting multiple menu options. An example could be, "Press 1 for sales. Press 2 for technical assistance. Press 3 for billing. Press 4 for all other inquiries." Based on the caller's response, the call is redirected to an appropriate call center agent.
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems aren't just for major enterprises. Even boutique marketing companies can benefit from the adoption of IVR technology. These systems work for inbound and outbound calls, and while efficient routing is a major benefit of having an IVR, it's not all they do.
Here are just five ways IVR systems can benefit your marketing company.
Improve inbound call routing
It might sound like a minor feature, but improving the inbound call routing at your marketing or advertising firm can make a big difference to your clients. Clients want to work with marketing partners who are modern, reliable and quick to respond to queries. Touch-tone and speech recognition IVR systems streamline the inbound call routing process, so you require less support staff and your clients get what they need faster.
Streamline the customer feedback process
Outbound surveys and polls are an underrated feature of IVR systems. As a marketing or advertising professional, you know that no matter how well you deliver a message, your business's longevity depends on the satisfaction of your clients.
With scripted IVR calls, you can reach out to clients you've worked with and have them take a quick touch-tone or voice poll. Finding out what your clients like, what they don't like and what suggestions they have for you is invaluable, and when the poll is conducted by a recording, they're more likely to be honest in their replies.
Expand your mobile marketing
When you read about IVR systems and marketing, one of the most commonly referenced topics is mobile marketing with IVRs. Cold-calling is a tough game, but with IVR you can automate the process of reaching out to prospective clients.
In-house IVR systems are typically less expensive than outsourcing campaigns to telemarketing companies or insourcing them with your own staff. There's also data attached to IVR systems, so following a marketing campaign, you can analyze which demographics responded the best to your calls and then adjust accordingly.
Send notifications to clients
Developing an interactive voice response system is an efficient way to decrease the follow-up and confirmation calls you make. With an IVR, you can let a client know that their direct mail campaign is being delivered, confirm client meetings, send reminders about services, and push out notifications when you add a new service or feature to your firm.
It's important to remember that today's business consumers don't care that much about developing a long business relationship and spending hours at lunch discussing campaigns; they want the services they need as quickly as possible, with minimal interaction.
Conduct market research
IVR systems are a marketer's dream when it comes to research. Phone polls and surveys, especially those associated with some form of raffle prize or discount, are a great way to get information about different demographics. Market research via IVR systems can be targeted based on purchased lead lists or regions, and since the process is automated, you can run them as frequently as you want without falling behind on other tasks or hiring temporary staff.
In addition to making it easier to carry out marketing campaigns and surveys, many IVR systems can integrate with CRM software, so you can import the information you glean from the automated calls for data analysis.
How to implement IVR
Shop around and compare different IVR systems. It's important to look at reviews and features of each prospective IVR system. An IVR will end up being the first interaction that new customers have with your business. You want the system to be easy to navigate with the potential to connect to a live agent as soon as possible. Test out the IVR system for at least a week before a full roll-out. Train agents on the features and make adjustments if you note any issues during the implementation process.