You work tirelessly to understand your customers’ wants and needs — requesting feedback, sending polls, or studying their behaviors.
But the best way to learn about your customers is to simply ask them.
Surveys provide your business with useful feedback that can help you increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and show customers their opinion matters.
Interactive voice response (IVR) polls add more ease and convenience to traditional surveys. They’re easy to set up and offer recipients a seamless experience. Instead of filling out intrusive online questionnaires, participants interact with the survey via a simple keypress or voice response.
Today, we’ll tackle the top benefits of IVR surveys, types of IVR surveys you can deploy today, and IVR survey best practices to get you the most accurate results.
The Benefits of IVR Surveys
IVR is a telephony system that identifies, segments, and routes calls. In IVR surveys, participants use speech recognition technology or a keypad to answer a series of automated, prerecorded questions.
There are several benefits to IVR surveys over traditional survey options:
- They’re easy to execute, low cost, and don’t require a ton of customer data to get started. IVR surveys are also significantly less expensive than hiring employees to conduct live surveys.
- Automated IVR surveys allow you to reach large audiences and generate results faster than mail or email surveys.
- With results from IVR surveys, organizations can capture and act on customer feedback instantly. For example, if you’re conducting a customer service survey, you can monitor survey results in real time and assign issues to the correct department or team as necessary, acting on negative customer experiences quickly before it becomes an issue.
IVR Survey Case Study
QuesGen Systems was working with OneWorld Health, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to test the effectiveness of medicines in developing countries. They needed a way to collect massive amounts of data quickly from developing nations. With an IVR survey, they were able to gather large amounts of data in real-time, much faster than traditional paper surveys or texts.
Types of IVR Surveys
The potential uses for IVR are endless, and IVR surveys can be customized in hundreds of ways to fit your industry and organizational needs. Here are a few types of IVR surveys:
- Inbound IVR Survey: Prospects or customers receive an invite to participate (this can be sent via an email, letter, or printed marketing material).
Ideal for: Ongoing customer satisfaction programs based around a permanent, static phone number.
- Call Transfer IVR Survey: Also known as post-call IVR surveys, these campaigns invite customers to participate at the start of the call then transfer them to the pre-recorded survey once their transaction or service call is complete.
Ideal for: Collecting immediate, top-of-mind customer feedback, evaluating customer service calls, or for input on a specific purchase.
- Outbound IVR Survey: Send voice broadcast messages out to a targeted audience asking them to participate in a survey.
Ideal for: Political and community surveys.
- IVR Hybrid: A live representative solicits individuals to participate in an automated IVR survey.
Ideal for: A cost-effective balance between live surveys and IVR.
IVR Survey Best Practices
If you want to launch an interactive voice response survey, you need more than cutting-edge technology to encourage your customers to respond. Below are seven best practices to help you create engaging IVR surveys that achieve the results you want.
1. Identify the Goal of Your IVR Survey
Without a thoughtful survey design, your customers will quickly check out. A concise, clear topic keeps your survey focused and yields unambiguous results.
Before building your survey, take a moment to identify your goals. What do you want to achieve with the survey?
The immediate reaction is to start brainstorming survey questions. Instead, think about the answers you’re looking for:
Our customers want “X” type of product.
They get frustrated when ____.
The list of answers is the foundation of your IVR survey. Use answers to test your hypotheses and present specific, differentiated options that will serve your higher purpose.
2. Craft Specific IVR Questions
Vague, generic questions can easily confuse your customers and compromise results. Your audience’s time is limited. Each question takes up valuable real estate in your survey, and vague, unspecific questions can taint survey results. When creating your IVR script, make sure your questions are precise and designed with a specific goal in mind. Say you want to measure the quality of your customer service. Asking “Was your agent knowledgeable and helpful?” is two different questions. What if they were knowledgeable but rude? Make sure the questions are clear with no ambiguity so you get precise data.
3. Keep It Short and Sweet
The longer the survey, the more likely customers are to drop off. To incentivize your audience to complete the survey, keep it short. It should take respondents no more than five minutes to complete a survey (post-call surveys should be two to three minutes in length). Stating how long it takes to complete the survey at the beginning of the call can also help increase response rates.
Here are a few tips to keep your IVR survey questions concise while making sure you have enough questions to achieve your goal:
- Add the critical questions at the beginning of the survey to maximize the response rate.
- Break down big ideas into separate questions: Open-ended questions can provide rich, qualitative data. But they also can be overwhelming for customers, resulting in lower answer rates. (Plus, interpreting the data is time-consuming.)
Break down open-ended questions into ordered answers so it’s easier for your audience to answer.
For example, if you’re trying to identify how many times a respondent has purchased from you, provide ordered answers: “Press zero for never, one for once, and two for twice.”
4. Use the Right Scale
After selecting the questions, you need to choose the right methodology to measure your results.
Survey respondents tend to avoid extreme answers, such as “very excellent” or “absolutely terrible.”
If you have a five-point scale, the majority of responses will be within three points of one another, which limits variability and can result in inconclusive data. Depending on your questions, you may want to choose a broader scale to get more definitive data.
5. Use Simple, Precise Language
Using clear language eliminates friction from the process and motivates your recipients to continue the survey.
For the best results, rid your survey of complicated words or industry jargon that make people stop and think. (This is especially crucial when conducting political surveys.)
6. Organize Your Survey Questions Based on Complexity
Your customers are doing you a favor by opting to complete your survey. So make it easy to complete!
Once you’ve identified your questions, take a look at the structure of the survey. Start with simple, straightforward questions and build up to complex ones. Don’t jump around to different sections and group similar questions together.
7. Optimize Your Send Time
Think through the time of day your interactive voice response survey will go out.
You’ll get the best response by sending it when your customers are available to participate. These times will differ for each business, and the right time will depend on your audience demographics.
For example, if you’re targeting stay-at-home mothers, send the survey during the day around a typical child’s nap time. However, if you’re targeting career professionals, sending the survey after work hours will garner the best response rate.
8. Test Your Survey With a Small Segment
Don’t launch the survey to the masses without testing it first. Run a test on a small customer segment and assess the responses to identify any gaps.
Is there a specific question where most people drop off the survey? Can the questions be clarified or improved to elicit more responses? Iterate as necessary before sending the survey to your entire audience.
Get the Best IVR Survey Software With CallFire
The goal of these best practices is to create an organized, well-designed survey that’s easy for participants to compete and delivers actionable data.
CallFire’s leading IVR technology allows you to easily send polls and surveys to customers, employees, voters, or community members. Using CallFire’s API, you can also customize your IVR system to suit more complex needs.
Ready to design your IVR survey? Try CallFire for free today.