IVR which stands for Interactive Voice Response has been around for a while now and is used extensively by businesses. It’s basically an automated menu tool on your phone which will route your customers to where they want to go.
Back in the day, a company would need to have a piece of kit in their office to make use of this IVR service. This would require technical know how and equipment costs which can be a daunting prospect for many businesses.
Hosted IVR has provided a breakthrough in that it is now an affordable facility that many small to medium sized businesses can now make use of. Hosted basically means the IVR platform is hosted in the ‘cloud’ and therefore no in-house kit is needed. A customer can simply design and manage their IVR on an online portal which requires little to no technical knowledge.
So why should a business use IVR technology? I would say it’s not for all businesses but if you do have a customer flow of calls coming in on a daily basis then you need to look at where they are terminating to, what your customers are calling about and can an IVR manage these calls better for you than say a receptionist.
I have highlighted below some of the key benefits an IVR can have for your business:-
1) Answering phone calls can take both time and money so let the IVR capture that initial call. Don’t lose your customer calls.
2) IVR will work for your business even when your business is closed. You can provide information to your customer and capture their messages even when you’re closed and there is no one to answer the call.
3) Your business can seem a lot bigger and have a professional front end even when you’re just a small ‘one man’ show.
4) Hosted IVR is easy to use and very affordable which means it’s a great choice for a start up company that wants to look at managing their calls.
5) Save time and money by getting the call to the correct department without having to send the call to a busy receptionist first.
6) Analyse your call stats and see what your customer calls are doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
7) Use automated key capture functionality which will allow your customers to check their balances, order over the phone or request information without having to speak to a representative.
Things to look out for if you do run an IVR for your business and common customer gripes are:-
1) Long IVR menus are a big no no – put yourself in your customer’s shoes – so keep menu options short and direct.
2) Make sure it works properly and voice activation technology works correctly without customers having to repeat their choices.
3) If you do have long call queues on your IVR then make sure you’re not charging too much for the call. This will really annoy your customers.
So keeping all of this in mind and deciding that you do need this for your business then you’ll need to look at a provider for this service. This is where you’ll need to speak to us at Direct Numbers whereby we always urge our customers to try a free demo of our hosted services to see how it can benefit your business.