IVR: A key business communications technology for payments sector

IVR a key business communications technology for payments sector

For any company in the payments sector, the contact center is key. This is especially true for payment collectors, as they must engage with customers on a regular basis. The smoother these interactions, the more productive and efficient the organization will be.

That is why payment collection firms should take advantage of any business communications technology that may improve their contact centers. One such technology is interactive voice response, as industry expert Dave Yohe of BillingTree highlighted for Payments Source.

IVR and payments
Yohe asserted that IVR solutions deliver a wide range of benefits for payment collectors. Most obviously, these tools can significantly cut costs for organizations. With IVR, customers can make payments and check their balances via the phone but without the need to speak to a representative. This allows agents to focus on higher-level issues, improving overall productivity for the company.

Additionally, implementing IVR in the contact center can increase customer satisfaction. Consumers now expect to have a range of options available when they need to reach out to a business. Inevitably, some will prefer to use the phone but, for various reasons, would rather avoid speaking to a person. IVR allows them to use their medium of choice in the way they prefer.

Compliance matters
Perhaps most significantly, Yohe highlighted the value that IVR brings to payment collectors' compliance efforts. Compliance is a critical consideration for any company that handles customer finances, and particularly those that specialize in this area.

IVR helps payment collectors achieve compliance in several ways. First, it improver verification efforts by automatically forcing callers to answer security questions and input PIN codes or passwords, thereby confirming their identities. 

IVR also ensures that payment collectors inform customers of all necessary rules and issues regarding responsibility and liability. While an agent may inadvertently skip one of these steps and open the company to possible sanctions, an IVR script is entirely reliable. 

Finally, an IVR solution in the contact center can record conversations, which can prove invaluable for auditing and legal protection.

Getting it right
Yohe noted that IVR solutions are gaining popularity in the payments sector. A recent BillingTree study found that 33 percent of respondents plan to add IVR technology within a year. As more organizations pursue these tools, it becomes imperative for firms to carefully vet their options. Specifically, companies should look for IVR systems that are both flexible and designed to integrate easily and effectively within a comprehensive contact center. 

Such flexibility and easy integration are not a given. Every IVR offering is unique, and many are relatively rigid and, therefore, only moderately useful. Avoding such offerings in favor of a higher-quality asset is essential for maximizing the value of this technology.