IVR: An invaluable contact center tool

IVR: An invaluable contact center tool

For any company hoping to improve the quality of its customer service, the contact center is essential. Without a robust, flexible contact center, companies will struggle to address client problems, questions and complaints in a sufficiently timely manner. Such efficiency is becoming increasingly important, as younger consumers prioritize speed over almost every other metric when it comes to customer service.

Key to such contact center success is the implementation of a broad range of tools that allow customers to use their preferred channel for any given issue. And while it does not receive the same level of attention as video conferencing and instant messaging, interactive voice response can and should play a key role in enhancing contact center capabilities. 

Seeking efficiency
IVR offers a number of major productivity benefits to contact centers. Arguably the single most significant of these advantages is improved efficiency. With an IVR solution in place, customers seeking basic information can obtain the answers they require without engaging with a human agent. This frees up employees' time, allowing them to focus on more complicated endeavors.

That's not all. IVR also helps to connect customers with the appropriate department and representative as quickly as possible, as the caller can indicate his or her issue prior to speaking to an agent. This means that no one spends time simply directing calls.

Even better, an advanced IVR solution that serves as part of a broader unified communications system can automatically provide agents with client-relevant information whenever calls are transferred to them. Rather than forcing agents to take the time to look up this information themselves, IVR can streamline performance, reduce call times and improve customer satisfaction.

Flexibility matters
It is critical for business decision-makers to realize, however, that the advantages offered by IVR technology depend largely on the specific tools deployed. There is a tremendous difference in quality between IVR solutions, and businesses need to choose the right option to maximize performance benefits.

Critically, the IVR solution must be flexible. Contact center personnel must be able to update IVR scripts and menus easily and quickly, without going through the IT department or shutting down the IVR system as a whole. 

The IVR tool should also integrate smoothly with other communication channels, including voice, email and SMS. To ensure this is the case, decision-makers should keep IVR in mind when they begin their search for UC offerings.