It’s not uncommon to hear about customer issues with interactive voice response and how customers prefer to talk to live agents instead of an automated voice recording. And in response to this backlash, the industry has developed some preconceived ideas about what IVR is and isn’t, and what is possible for companies using it. But, similar to how the truth can get skewed on the internet, these IVR half-truths have turned into myths that need to be explained and brought to the light. Let’s take a look at a few top myths:
MYTH #1 - IVRs are disruptive. Customers ALWAYS want to “zero out” and talk to a live agent
Not every customer wants to speak to a live agent. In fact, waiting for a live agent and carrying on a conversation when it isn’t necessary could frustrate a customer who is only after a quick answer to a small query.
Queries like balance amounts, credit card activation, reservation information, and other routine questions are best handled with interactive voice response. There will be some customers who always want to talk to a live agent which is why it’s always beneficial to have an option for customers to speak to a live agent. But this is not the consensus. Most people want the answers to their questions in the quickest time with the least hassle—this is where IVR shines.
MYTH #2 - Customers feel put-off by IVR systems
Businesses are also afraid of using interactive voice response, afraid that it will turn off customers and frustrate them more. They may have experience with customers opting out of IVR to speak to a live agent, and they minimize its use as a result.
Customer frustration is real, but minimizing how much you use interactive voice response may not be the answer. Your customers want the quickest route to an accurate answer with the least hassle. If interactive voice response can give that to them, that is the solution. Instead of reducing the IVR queries you answer, review why your customers are getting frustrated and use that data to optimize your menus and deliver a better IVR experience.
MYTH #3 - IVR can’t automate complex queries
Don’t be afraid to push your interactive voice response to its limits. Its capabilities are often much greater than what businesses think. Review the queries you are automating vs. the ones live agents handle and assess whether you can automate some of them easily to save more time and money. Examples of queries you may not be automating are address updates, card number verification, email verification, or essentially any capture that involves data collection, even if it is longer than one word or includes multiple steps.
MYTH #4 - IVR is too expensive
Interactive voice response is not only an efficient, affordable solution, but it is also automated and free of ongoing maintenance. In fact, you will save money by using IVR because you will be reducing your operational expenses and increasing efficiency.
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