Top 6 IVR Service Providers in the Market and How you can Improve Customer Service Using Them

IVR systems have become so popular these days. Businesses of different industries, sizes, and types have started utilizing IVR systems in their call centers.

Traditionally, call centers would employ live operators to answer calls from customers and to reply to them. Ever since IVR systems have emerged, they have replaced the need for live operators.

The benefits of an IVR system are numerous. This is the reason why it has become a fundamental system in almost every call center.  Today, it plays a vital role in improving call center operations and management.

A well-managed call center leads to an improved customer experience, improved customer satisfaction and thereby improving a business’s image.

So what is the role of the IVR system in improving customer service? What are the key performance indicators/KPIs that improve customer satisfaction? This blog will provide you with answers to all these questions and more.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Customer Service and its Importance
  • Customer Satisfaction and its Importance
  • How is Customer Service different from Customer Satisfaction?
  • What exactly is an IVR?
  • Role of IVR in Improving Customer Service
  • Different Ways to Improve Customer Service with an IVR
  • What is a KPI in Call Center and Why Is It Important?
  • What is an IVR KPI and what is KPI for Customer Satisfaction?
  • What are the main KPIs that Improve Customer Satisfaction in Call Centers?
  • Top IVR Service Providers
  • Conclusion

Customer Service and its Importance

Customer service is the help and guidance to customers provided by representatives of a business. Generally, customers need assistance and advice on the products or services purchased or used.

It is the way businesses show support to customers by answering their queries/problems regarding a product or service provided.  

There are two ways of delivering a customer service to customers;

  • Reactive: Reactive customer service is when the customers contact the customer service representatives to solve their concerns.
  • Proactive: Proactive customer service is when the concerns are taken care of before the customers face them.

Customer Satisfaction and its Importance

Customer satisfaction is a measure of how happy a customer is or has been with using a business product or service. It is most commonly measured as a customer satisfaction score/ CSAT Score.

A CSAT score can be decided after surveying amongst your customers. Companies does post call survey to the customers to know about their satisfaction. Different companies do this customer satisfaction rating in different ways. You can see someone asking to rate them numerically whilst some others use emoticons, etc. It completely depends upon the customer preference.

After gathering the survey response or data, an average of all the scores is taken to be a CSAT score. Another way to measure customer satisfaction is by determining the net promoter score/NPS. This score is calculated by surveying customers. This is to know how likely they (customers) would recommend or refer your business to others on a scale of 1 to 10.  

Statistics show that a satisfied customer is 60 to 70 percent more likely to buy your business product/service. He/she would also recommend your business more.

So for any business, customer satisfaction plays a very important role. It helps you know about;

  • The products/services of your business that are very much popular amongst customers (this is through survey data)
  • The unique selling points of your business’s products/services over your competitors
  • The products/services that customers have stopped buying/using
  • The areas of improvement for your products/services (as per negative reviews about your products/services online)

How is Customer Service Different from Customer Satisfaction?

Customer service is quite different from customer satisfaction. There are so many factors that influence the customer satisfaction and you have to remember that one of those factors is an efficient service pre and post sale as well.

Good customer service shows the customer was satisfied with the way his/her queries were answered, transactions went smoothly, etc. It is the responsibility of every business to provide good customer service.        

Companies need to increase the satisfaction level of their customers. This is done by training their customer service representatives to be more respectful and professional while interacting  on a phone call. This involves how to answer problems/ queries sensitively on a phone call. If customer satisfaction levels are high then it shows that customers are  loyal to the business’s products/services.

What exactly is an IVR?

An IVR is a software used in call centers. The software is an automated system created by an integration of computer and telephony technology.  

IVR software involves;

  • Playing a recorded message to the customer (with a greeting/welcome message),
  • Announcing the menu options (like press 1 for language option, press 2 for products information, press 3 for speaking to customer representative/agent, etc),
  • Transferring the call to an agent (depending upon the menu options).

An IVR being the central call center technology, when used correctly can have a positive impact on customers. It also allows a customer to self-serve. This means some of the IVR menu options give the information that the customer is seeking. For example account/balance information, etc.    

IVR system has many benefits like;

  • Leads to better customer service
  • Makes agents’ life easier by allowing  the call center to handle high call volume
  • Is available 24by7,
  • Is not prone to manual errors made by a receptionist while call transfer,

Lowers the call waiting time, functional cost, etc

Role of IVR in Improving Customer Service

Customer service is very important in any business. If customers are well-taken care of, it would not only lead to customer retention but also  lead to increased revenue and helps in  uplifting a business’s brand value as well as  referrals.

An IVR system remarkably enhances the way businesses provide customer service. It plays a crucial role. Here is a brief about it;

1. Faster Time to Resolution

It should be remembered that customers’ time is valuable. A customer who gets an immediate response to his query is often satisfied/happy with the service provided. Making a customer wait for a long duration leads to poor customer satisfaction levels (low CSAT score). Moreover, it helps enhance the business’s image if the customers’ issue is resolved soon.

An IVR system leads to a faster time to resolution. This means that customer calls are transferred to the agent as quickly as possible without any delay or waiting time. Time to resolution is an important metric that determines how good customer service is. It is measured by calculating the average time taken between the creation of customer interaction and the resolution of the interaction. 

2. Self Service

Today customers expect quick help and information. IVR systems with self-service capabilities enable customers to access the information they need using a series of self-service prompts.

There is no need to transfer the call to an agent. This is because customers get all the information they need by pressing the appropriate IVR menu option. However, if the customer wishes to speak to an agent the call can still be transferred.

With a self-service option in IVR, the chances of customers abandoning the call are very less. There are also reduced chances of having a high inbound call volume so agents can be rest assured.  

3. Prioritize Important Callers 

You can prioritize important callers or high-value leads in an IVR system. These leads need not be kept waiting in the queue and can be routed immediately to the most skilled agent. A multi-channel solution can be used to collect data on these leads (live chat, phone, email, social media, etc.).

When these leads make an incoming call, certain options in IVR can be hidden and then made available. Otherwise, a particular code can be entered that will prioritize these leads.

4. Round the Clock Availability

Every business can’t provide 24by7 employees for support. There are times when agents are busy or are on a holiday. During these times, an IVR can offer support to customers.

Since it is programmable software, it is not dependent on human labor. Customers can call even during the night and leave behind a voice message.

5. Absence of Manual Errors

Without an IVR system, there can be high incoming calls that need to be handled manually. The chances of errors like routing to the wrong agent/department would be more. On the other hand, the IVR system is automated. It doesn’t need humans and therefore is not prone to human errors made by a receptionist. Moreover, it is consistent. This is because each customer gets the same IVR experience every time he/she calls the call center.

Different Ways to Improve Customer Service with an IVR System

The IVR systems that are well executed deliver good customer service. This is because they help customers to self-resolve issues more and help your agents to handle every call received. If it is not executed properly,  your customers will get more frustrated and thereby loss of a customer for a lifetime. So getting an IVR system right is very important for improving customer service.

We have listed a few ways in which you can provide better service with an IVR

1. Aligning the IVR Menu to the Pattern of Call Volumes

The IVR menu, also known as a phone tree, allows callers to select from a variety of options. They interact with callers through voice or keypresses.

It is always a good practice to design an IVR menu that is aligned to the pattern of call volumes. It can also be designed to be aligned to the data that most customers call in about. For example, if call volume is high for paying a bill, you can design your IVR menu that offers the first menu option as bill pay. This results in good customer service.

2. Empower Agents with the Right Customer Data

You can empower your agents with the right customer data to deliver good customer service. This is possible by using CRM software in conjunction with IVR software. Your agents will already have the information about the customers (name, purchase history, etc). Because of this they don’t have to ask about little details to customers.   This not only saves time but also avoids customers getting frustrated.

3. Making IVR Menu more Personalized, Interesting, Dynamic, and Creative

Customer service is improved when an IVR menu is more personalized, interesting, dynamic, and creative. An IVR menu can be made more personalized by playing a greeting or welcome message with the name of the customer. The messages played can be made more creative and interesting with trendy music. It can also be made more dynamic. This means that you should be able to change the IVR menu as per the customer’s changing needs and likes.

4. Adding Customer Service Survey at the End of Each Call

An IVR system with a customer service survey added at the end of each call will improve customer service. This is because it will let you know whether good customer service has been delivered or not. If the customers haven’t received good customer service then you at least get to know the scope of improvement. 

What is a KPI in Call Center and Why Is It Important?

A KPI in a call center is a measurement used by call center managers. This measurement analyzes the efficiency and effectiveness of a call center (its various departments, teams, and individuals). It can track governance, timeliness, behaviors, compliance, project performance, economics, personnel performance or resource usage, etc.

It is very important in a call center because it can measure the quality of work at call centers.  It evaluates whether or not a call center is meeting its goals.   It is a critical indicator of progress in call centers.

What are the main KPIs that Improve Customer Service in Call Centers?

Majority of customers would want or expect great service. You as a business owner might perceive that good customer service is being delivered but it is important for you to understand how they are perceiving it. . This is where KPIs can help.

The KPIs that improve customer service in call center service are very beneficial. They give a behind the scene look at how agents are interacting with customers and what kind of customerservice is being provided to them.  KPIs help you make better decisions and improve your service by giving you solid data to improve the gaps. Below is the list of main KPIs that improve customer service in call center service.

First Response Time

First response time is the most important KPI in enhancing customer service. It is calculated as the time of first response by the agent minus the time of customer request. A high first response time score shows that customers’ queries have been given priority. It also indicates that agents are prompt in responding to the queries. Most of the customers (60 percent) would like to have their queries answered in less than a minute. A late first response time can make them leave your website.   

Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rate is calculated by using the formula below;

Customer retention rate = {(number of customers at the end of the process – number of new customers acquired during the process)/number of customers at the beginning of the process)} x 100.

A high customer retention rate shows great customer service to be delivered. Notably, you need to focus on existing customers as statistics show that

  • Repeat customers spend more than existing ones (by 33 %)
  • A 30% rise in the value of the company is associated with a 10% increase in customer retention yields
  • The likelihood of converting a new vs. an existing customer is 5 to 20 percent vs. 60 to 70 percent
  • A 5% increase in customer retention rates increases profits by 25 to 95%

Moreover, your brand image is improved when you retain more customers for a longer-term. It shows they have developed loyalty and trust on you.

First Contact Resolution

First contact resolution is another important metric. . It measures agents’ efficiency in resolving an issue on the first interaction with a customer. The higher first contact resolution shows better customer service provided. It is calculated as the total number of calls resolved on the first call divided by the total number of calls received.   

Average Resolution Time

Average resolution time is another important KPI for measuring customer service. It is calculated as the sum of all times to resolution divided by the total number of queries/support tickets resolved. Measured in hours or days, it is inversely proportional to customer satisfaction and directly proportional to customer service.

Cost Per Conversation

Finding out the cost per conversation is an important customer service key performance indicator. It is calculated by dividing the total support costs by the number of issues. It gives you an idea about the cost of each support to your business.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is an important customer service key performance indicator. The greater the conversion rate, the greater the success of your campaigns. It shows the customer service was excellent. It is calculated as below;

Conversion rate = (The number of conversions last month divided by the number of visitors to your website) x 100.

Apart from the above KPIs, the Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction Score are other KPIs that can help improve customer service.   

Top IVR Service Providers

Businesses no longer need to hire people to handle calls these days. Irrespective of business size, hiring people just to handle calls is not economical. To make the process economical and simpler it’s best to look out for IVR service providers. Since there are many IVR service providers in the market, choosing the right one can be confusing and tough. Here we have researched and compiled a list of top IVR service providers.   

Office24by7

Office24by7 is the top IVR service provider offering direct, single-level, or multi-level IVRs. Our IVRs act as virtual receptionists, answering calls from customers timelessly. Customer inquiries can be dealt with automated, planned responses and transferred to internal teams as required.

Ameyo

Ameyo offers a smart IVR solution with self-service automation. You can design an IVR as per the needs of your business. With an intelligent IVR system, each customer call can be matched with the appropriate agent based on the caller’s input.

Nextiva

Nextivaprovidesadvanced IVR with conversational AI that automates, improves call routing, reduces hold times, and saves you money. Customers do not have to sift through a lengthy menu of options. For them, they can simply speak in their language, state their request, and receive the assistance they need quickly.

Servetel

Servetel delivers the best in class multi-level IVR solution with a self-service option that will transform your business. Using Servetel’s real-time dashboard, you can track and monitor all your agents and live calls. The many desirable features offered by its multi-level IVR solution guarantee quick query resolution.

Exotel

With Exotel’s IVR system, you can produce an efficient and reliable communication system for your business. It’s multi-level IVR number system helps automate your business communication. Its IVR call blaster integrated software allows you to get customer responses at scale without the assistance of agents.

Ring Central

RingCentral offers multi-level IVR systems that allow enterprises to establish customized call tree voice menus. It also includes a simple visual IVR editor and controls for audio prompts management. The IVR system is convenient to use.

Conclusion

Choosing the right IVR system and setting it up is a onetime process which will benefit your business hugely in the long term. It is not something that you can just setup once and leave it, you have to keep reviewing it at regular intervals.

From time to time, it is beneficial to have an outside perspective. With Office24by7, businesses can also rely on a team that knows how to make the most of IVR systems and other call center technology. You can count on Office24by7 to increase the efficiency of your business and improve existing practices. Give us a call at +91 7097171717 or drop an email at sales@office24by7.com today.