How call centre tech can stop annoying people

Cape Town - There's nothing quite as annoying when you call a company and find that the automated answering system is of no help. But there is a fix for this problem.

If customers feel that an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is poor they will likely call competitors, says an insider.

IVR is a technology that allows companies to conduct automated customer engagements at minimal cost.

"When IVR does not lead to consumer satisfaction and quick resolutions, it is very likely that the customer will turn to a competitor for the same service," Ambarish Gupta, CEO of Knowlarity told Fin24.

Knowlarity specialises in internet-based IVR services which also allows call monitoring for companies in the services industry.

According to a report by 1Stream titled 'Key Trends Affecting the South African Call Centre Industry', 70% of call centre costs are made up by salaries, leading many companies to shift toward digital tools to contact customers.

According to studies conducted by research firm JD Power & Associates, automated systems make up 27% of US customers' total call experience with companies.

But it is too easy for companies to add multiple layers of complexity to IVR systems that render them inefficient.

Here are Knowlarity's four top fails in the use of IVR systems:

1: Too much information

Solution - Go back to basics. IVR is the starting point for most customers and therefore it should provide the caller with a quick solution to their problem, while providing a pleasant customer experience.

2: Static Menus

Solution - An IVR should not consist of static layers with multiple menus, as most consumers do not value this type of automation. No customer appreciates having to listen to a five-minute long voice response when the action they require should only take two minutes.

Companies should focus on the most efficient self service for IVR systems. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

3: No option for self-service

Solution - It is advisable that a business' IVR system can enable the user to have a unique caller ID and when they enter their unique code, the system should pull their personalised information.

4: Placing customers in a virtual queue

Solution - Instead of placing the caller in a virtual queue, which could take several minutes to shorten before they are assisted, the business IVR should automatically record the caller's details and ensure that they are called back within an acceptable time frame to address their issues.

Gupta, who has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon, said that even though IVR technology promises efficient customer interactions, companies should resist the temptation to load the system in such a way as to waste time.

"The most important aspect of IVR is to never waste the customer's time. A basic, static and personalised IVR system with an automated call-back service is the best solution for an effective voice response for most businesses."

What are the most annoying habits of call centres? Tell us by clicking here.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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