3 Ways to Help Your Customers Avoid Contact Center IVR Hell!

We’ve shared just how critical a well-tuned IVR system is. After all, your customers consider your inbound contact center to be as much a representative of your organization as your storefront or your salespeople. When it doesn’t deliver, and your customers are relegated to shouting at their phones in frustration. Or even worse, hanging up altogether, they directly connect that negative experience to your brand. 

This obviously leaves a bad and lasting impression that can impact your bottom line. So, how do you prevent your IVR systems from becoming customer service hell and keep these types of disasters from happening in the first place? Let’s look at three areas you can fix in your system. 

Adjust Your Grammar 

When your system is first set up, you build in a certain level of anticipated words that you know your callers will use to navigate the system. However, no matter how prepared you think you are, there will always be instances in which your system will experience out-of-grammar utterances. For example, your system has only one listing for a city with multiple pronunciations. Your system can also be confused by utterances such as the words “um” or “oh”. When these utterances occur, your user is then asked to repeat themselves. If there is too much disruption, they will eventually break containment and zero out of the call. They’re frustrated, and now your reps must spend valuable time solving their problem—and soothing their anger. 

The fix: Combating this issue requires transcribing and monitoring your calls to see where your customers are getting lost in the system. With verbatim transcription, you can soon build a pattern of error that you can then use to tune your system. For example, you can build in a confirmation that checks ambiguous pronunciations or create option utterances far beyond the core (e.g. a dog barking in the background or nearby sirens). 

Fix Confusing Menus 

Are your menus too long, too confusing, or simply unhelpful? Then you’re probably causing your customers quite a bit of frustration. If your menu is lacking, they are likely to do one of three things:  

1. mash the zero button and demand to talk to a human,  

2. give up altogether and take to social media to complain about their service, or  

3. all of the above.  

None of these are great for you or the customer. 

The fix: Do you know the main services your customers seek when calling you? If you don’t, it’s time to dip into your reporting/analytics and find out. Put their biggest needs front-and-center on your menu so your customers can quickly get where they need to go without listening to a litany of menu options that don’t apply. Do you know where your clients break containment most often? Chances are, that’s where your menu has failed them and forced them to try another way.  

Banish Long Hold Times 

Your customer has taken the time to self-serve with your IVR system, patiently, and properly navigated the menu and then they connect with…hold music! Imagine the sheer frustration of that moment. Especially if your hold music sounds like a worn-out audio cassette tape of 1980’s Cool Jazz. Every minute your customer is on hold after engaging with your IVR diminishes their opinion of your company and increases their irritation. And if this is a sales-related call? Even bigger mistake. They’re calling to give you their money, and you’ve signaled that their time is not valuable. 

The fix: It could be that you need more personnel to handle your inbound calls. If that’s the case, that’s a matter for your customer service team and human resources to resolve. However, it could also be that your inbound team has been relegated to fixing problems caused by your IVR instead of making sales. If problems such as those listed above send customers who would typically self-serve to live reps, those reps are no longer focused on income-producing activities. Perform a review of how much time your reps spend on calls that could have been self-service calls, then make the repairs necessary to contain those callers and free up your reps for other tasks. 

Alternatively, a caller elected callback solution should be offered anytime your hold times are more than 90 seconds. These solutions will hold your caller’s place in line, allow them to hang up and go about their business. When the agent is available, the system will place an outbound call to the customer and connect them to an agent. A far less painful experience than listening to the 1980’s cool jazz. 

Give your customers the IVR experience they deserve, and the one that best represents your brand. By taking a look at the three areas discussed above, you can ensure that your customer—and your reputation—don’t find themselves in customer service hell. 

Join Our Team

We're hiring innovative, passionate team players.

See all open positions
NEXT Shuffle