Why IVR, Why Now?

Blog Post created by jspeiche on Aug 20, 2013

What’s new?  IVR isn’t new.  Self-Service isn’t all that new.  The continued drive to differentiate, which includes servicing customers isn’t new, but it is gaining a huge resurgence, especially when it comes to self-service.  “I need to better align the needs of my customers to my contact center and self-service capabilities today,” says one executive.  With a nearly 60% unsolicited opt-out rate with most IVR’s today, why is it that 67% of consumers prefer self-service?  On top of that, nearly 60% of consumers want to switch to a different company following a bad app experience.  This begins the conversation of why self-service and why now.  As a business leader, if I am trying to differentiate, upsell, and drive repeat buying behavior, how does my contact center policy support that today?


Trends, Opportunities, and Solutions

While the trend for cheaper customer support options and the demand for self-service and customer access to information and sales/service abilities continues, the need for consistent policy and “proof-in-the-pudding” metrics are also in high demand.  Customers not only want to deploy technologies that serve multiple contact channels, but they want to be able to prove the results.  Performance-based reporting is critical. 

As BYOD and mobile access grow, so does the requirement for access.  In today’s world that means access through a myriad of channels based on individual preference or customer’s location or ability at that moment in time.  Today’s customer also appreciates personalization or “personalized experiences.” Pro-active outbound information or courtesy call-backs while in queue are another addition to minimize wait times, set expectations, and even decrease the amount of inbound contacts into the contact center.



Key Takeaways:


  • While IVR seems old, Self-Service is one of the hottest topics in Contact Center
  • The BYOD and Mobile Applications craze has provided a new opportunity for “callers” with new demands and requirements for Self-Service capabilities.  Mobile enablement of the IVR and Visual IVR (next article) are examples of this.
  • A look at the numbers…  With a nearly 60% unsolicited opt-out rate with most IVR’s today, why is it that 67% of consumers prefer self-service (Vocalabs survey April 2012)?  The Answer: Because most IVR installations were scripted as a gatekeeper to the contact center and haven’t been updated in years!  Today’s customers expect to be able to access sales, service, returns, and order updates 24/7 and without having to talk to a person.  It is time to properly enable customers to service themselves before they take the 60% option and go to a competitor.
  • The next time we ask about how old a customer’s IVR is or if is still supported, we should think about what add-on features relate to their self-service capabilities as well as assist them with a thorough self-service strategy.


How does the new generation feel about all of this?

Millennials might not have as much money in their pocketbooks as older shoppers, but companies often treat them as VIP customers. That’s because millennials have the highest expectations for service, say customer relations experts, and they also tend to complain the loudest: About 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds take to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks when they have an issue with a company, twice as many as among the 65 and older crowd, according to a recent survey by NM Incite, a social media research and consulting firm. “If they’ve got a problem, they want to shout about it,” says Joshua March, CEO of Conversocial, a firm that helps brands interact with customers on social media. Millennials “are much more likely to kick up a fuss, publicly, and that can quickly damage the reputation of the brand,” March says.

Millennials are also forcing companies to step up their game, as they tend to be demanding consumers: 42% of 18- to 34-year-olds expect companies to respond on social media within 12 hours of a complaint or comment, according to Nielsen. (The study didn’t report on the expectations of other age groups.) As a result, companies are trying to please millennials before their gripes go viral—giving millennials more power as consumers, says March: “The ball is very much in their court.”


Source:  Millennials article:  “Companies that neglect us will be sorry.”


67% of consumers prefer self-service (Vocalabs survey April 2012)