May 7, 2015


Key Interactive Voice Response systems (Key IVR), from a business point of view, are effective and reliable. The technology for these systems is ever evolving and ever developing. Companies can use them as an automated payment service or simply to refer them to the correct line to reach the relevant team. They’re not just the recipients of the call, they can be programmed to dial up customers automatically and process the needs of the conversation.

Are You Being Served?

An estimation from Gartner projects shows that, “By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human”. What does that tell us? It’s informing us that, love it or hate it, IVR is growing and becoming more sophisticated all the time. Within 5 years the vast majority of interactions with a business, from a consumer or customer perspective, will be managed telephonically. Of course it is inescapable that many people want to speak to an actual person about their miscellaneous troubles and there are always going to be scenarios that an automotive IVR system isn’t prepared for; so it’s important to have a human down the line for communication too. In fact the average IVR system supplies that option 4th selection in. Starting at the beginning, the infographic below displays an IVR’s average referral time to a human speaker.

It seems the majority subside after option three to speak to a human. Does this show a natural preference to speak to people as opposed to machines? Not necessarily because automation isn’t always necessarily the voice of a robot. In fact many companies choose to enlist professional actors in studios to perform the voice function of their automated equipment. 74% of people prefer listening to the voice of a women apparently because people want to hear a voice that sounds to care.

What Do We want?

IVR has something of a divide. It is suggested that 66 percent of people believe that self-service is generally more convenient. This preference is even higher—82 percent—amongst Gen Y (babies born in the 80’s to early 90’s) consumers. However despite this statistic that states people prefer self-service, IVR can still get a negative reception, “an overwhelming 70% of respondents ranked this as the top factor affecting their satisfaction level”. So where is the problem? Is the problem that IVR is undesirable or poorly implemented? On one hand we have people telling us they prefer to do things by themselves, contrarily we have people informing us that they prefer to not interact with other people when performing things such as, checking their bank balance.

Doing it well.

The truth is the implementation of the IVR is the issue. Many companies don’t facilitate it correctly. You find they don’t subside to a person easily enough. Or oppositely they can’t perform basic functions, like checking your mobile phone bill. Speculatively it seems that IVR, like an organ, is a powerful instrument, if in the hands of people who know what they want from it. IVR direction should come from the customer’s needs and not what the business thinks the customer’s needs are, this is why many businesses record customer telephone conversations. What they learn there, they can teach their systems and adapt accordingly. Poor implementation of IVR is not without consequence, it is estimated that 81 percent of those who had a hard time solving their problems reported an intention to spread negative word-of-mouth.

In favour of IVR are the practicalities that are oh so attractive and what these systems can realise for your business. They have the power to cut down on fees. You have one payment to set up the IVR in the beginning, then maintenance. They can do the job of many employees and they do so without the temperament or erroneous nature of the human. Not to mention an IVR is never out of office and probably isn’t going to ask you to call back at a later date, unless they were referring you to a person in the first place.

For further information, please visit the links below:

Software Advice

Smart Customer Service