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7 innovative ways to modernize your IVR

A company’s interactive voice response (IVR) is the first point of contact for callers. Done right, an IVR system can help build stronger customer relationships and reduce user frustration. In fact, customers spend 54% more when their experience is personalized, according to brands. On the other hand, a poor IVR experience can leave customers feeling abandoned and annoyed leading to churn and lower revenue.

While most businesses would never create a bad customer experience on purpose, the constraints of a rigid, one size-fits-all legacy IVR system can make it difficult to keep up with evolving customer expectations.

In order to keep up, businesses need a modern IVR to deliver personalized interactions, and offer instant self service solutions. And thanks to the rise of communications APIs and artificial intelligence (AI), building a modern IVR is more efficient and accessible than ever.

Many businesses are already using AI to build tailored and engaging customer experiences. Those that have are reaping substantial benefits. In fact, of brands that have implemented AI:

  • 45% have witnessed improved customer satisfaction scores
  • 41% reported enhanced data-driven decision-making
  • 41% enjoyed better market segmentation and targeting

Where do you get started modernizing your IVR? Here are seven best practices:

  1. Make your IVR intuitive

IVR solutions should provide your customers with a more straightforward way to get what they want, fast. But that can only be achieved if you design your IVR with customer needs in mind. This requires making your phone menus and routing logic more intuitive by reducing menu options to five or fewer or by using an AI-powered conversational virtual agent.

  1. Get personal

Since you know who your typical callers are, IVR systems allow for tremendous personalization and stronger customer connections. If it’s a known caller, greet them by name. If they speak a different language, respond to them accordingly, and make sure to provide them with a local phone number. The best IVR systems learn more about your customers with each contact.

When an IVR has visibility into the full customer journey—the reason a user might be calling, the products they have purchased, their billing status, etc.—the entire customer experience is more personal. When your communication solution can interact with your software in real-time, you can create a custom menu for each user that results in a conversation flow that’s as natural as speaking with a human.

  1. Let customers escalate to a real person, if necessary

Some callers may prefer to connect with a human immediately, but monitor IVR abandonment. High abandonment rates could point to a problem with call flow design and help you identify how to improve your user experience.

While there are many advantages to automation, there’s nothing more frustrating to a caller than being unable to connect with a real person when desired. To ensure a positive customer experience, your speech recognition software transfer the call when it hears the words “representative” or “operator.” By connecting your caller’s data to your CRM, your agents should be privy to the complete details behind the customer’s inquiry, including any information entered in earlier stages of the phone tree. This can help them better serve the user from the moment they are connected.

  1. Take advantage of the brand/customer connection

IVR also offers an ideal platform to infuse your brand identity into customer conversations. Smart marketers ensure IVR systems use messaging and tone that authentically represents their brand. This allows businesses to create an immediate and lasting impression, aligning the brand and its products with positive customer experiences that resonate long after a call ends. The best IVR solutions allow you to create and adjust messages as often as you change your marketing campaigns.

  1. Utilize omnichannel

A modern IVR must integrate into all your support channels for a truly seamless communication experience. This can help your business prioritize dynamic customer channel preferences, offering intuitive transitions that adapt to ever-evolving communication landscapes.

  1. Think outside the box

Don’t limit your IVR to just routing incoming customer service calls. Modern businesses are inventing entirely new uses for speech recognition, conversational AI, and generative AI. Perhaps you’re considering automation to help customers update a pharmaceutical prescription order, make a purchase or reservation, or even looking for a faster way for your sales team to receive and convert leads. This is the power of a modern IVR.

  1. Connect globally and scale with ease

Seamless integration is the key to creating a five-star IVR experience. However, because communication platforms often use proprietary technologies, many organizations can’t make the necessary changes using in-house resources. By turning to communication APIs you can utilize the power of the cloud to get to market quickly without the heavy lifting associated with telecom upgrades of the past.

Learn more about the requirements for a modern IVR and the advantages of using APIs to build your IVR in the free Playbook for a Modern IVR.