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Interactive Voice Response: What Is It And How Is It Beneficial?

Leena Fernandes

Leena Fernandes

September 28, 2020 |

Less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting.”

And do you know why?

Because your prospects believe that either your brand fails to cater to them or that the agent dealing with the prospects fails to create an impression in the minds of theirs.

Cold calling is being used today but the frequency of it has comparatively fallen “Cold calling is ineffective 90.9% of the time.

The reason could be multiple but there is one reason that overshadows them all, the ease to clarify doubts with one click.

As a prospect, you would have experienced an issue with reference to your networks and more, what do you do?

You connect with the brand. As you connect with the brand, you don’t just reach out to the right person directly, instead, you go through a series of processes. 

There have been instances where once you complete the process, there is no need from your end to engage with the agent and that saves you time and efforts on a larger scale.

This process is called IVR (Interactive Voice Response).

IVRs not just benefit your prospects by giving them a faster solution to clarify their issues but from a brand perspective, they do a great job in helping you manage your prospects better.

Wouldn’t it be better only the required leads reach out to you? Wouldn’t it be better if you were always available for your prospects? Wouldn’t it be great if your waiting time was reduced to zero or a lesser number?

This is exactly what IVR (Interactive Voice Response) can give you and we can help guide you better with this article:

How can this article help you?:

  • We will cover the meaning of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) in detail for your better understanding
  • We will cover next to the characteristics of IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
  • We will next cover the benefits of IVR (Interactive Voice Response) for your brand
  • We will next cover the top tips to conduct and manage IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
  • Lastly, we will share some use cases of brands who are benefiting from IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents


Meaning Of IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

How IVR can benefit business illustration

Let’s understand this better with an example:

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): Welcome to ABC brand, to get more details on a press 1, to get more details on B press 2

You: (sees the keypad and presses 2)

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): Your details on B are as follows, if you still would like to learn more about it, we can direct you to our agents, press 3 to confirm

You🙁 sees the keypad and presses 3)

IVR (Interactive Voice Response): Please wait as we direct your call to the team

You: (gets connected)

Were you able to understand?

This is exactly what IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is all about. It makes it so easy for an individual like you to get connected and clarify the doubts that don’t even require the call.

Have you noticed that even before you reach the team, your doubts are clarified, the call option would be mandatory only if required? 

Imagine how much time has been saved?

Let’s understand this with an example:

When you connect with your network brand to understand your balance or to recharge, the direction they give you is simple such as press 1 to recharge your phone, press 2 to check your balance. When you click on those directions, you’re automatically guided on what you need to do next.

Typical Interactive Voice Response flow illustration

This is great because :

  • There is no waiting time, you just get done with the work you contacted the brand for
  • It is simple and easy and to the point to clarify doubts and resolve issues

Let’s learn about IVR (Interactive Voice Response) better by understanding the characteristics it holds.


Top Characteristics Of IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

1. Conducts automatic call routing

The call routing feature is all about directing your call to the right person. When you have a query and want to get in touch with the right team, the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) ensures that you’re being directed to the right team that will help you resolve the issue. 

2. Captures prospect information

When a prospect contacts the IVR (Interactive Voice Response), their information is shared such as their name and contact details, this will help your brand to capture the lead details and then understand the reasons why they want to be catered about. You can then enhance your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) process in a more personalized manner. 

Let’s understand this with an example:

Say if more of your prospects are inquiring about your brand’s latest updates, you can always add it as an option for your prospects to easily be guided about it. 

3. Creates personalized messages 

As stated earlier, when you understand what your prospects are looking for, it becomes easier when to personalize your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) experience for them. You will be able to customize your messages accordingly and also add the options that your prospects frequently visit or enquire about.  

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) makes such an impact, now imagine how it would look like if it was applied to your brand?

Your brand deals with prospects over call for a long time, getting on a call is much better to explain to your prospects about your brand better, but when you have a huge amount of prospects waiting to get on a call with you for multiple reasons, it can get difficult. 

Hence applying the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) process can benefit your brand in multiple ways, which our next category can explain to you about.


Perks Of Using IVR For Your Brand

1. Plays the role of virtual secretary

Uses of IVR

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) functions just like how a normal secretary would function except is virtual. This virtual secretary will cater to all your leads and only help your brand connect with leads that matter. 

This saves your brand the time to deal with non interested leads and lets you focus and get right on the action with the valuable leads. 

Interesting Read: The Ultimate Guide To Callback Systems

2. Increases the number of happy leads

When your prospect realizes that your brand has managed to resolve their solutions in a shorter time what do you believe the outcome would be? There will be a higher rate of customer satisfaction. Your instant help via the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is creating a good impression in the minds of your prospects as catering to them becomes quicker and without any waiting time. 

So when this action takes place regularly there will be lesser complaints and more happy prospects getting converted into a sales lead efficiently. 

Let’s understand this with an example:

Say that your prospect has some clarifications that need to be made, instead of them expecting a call, their clarifications were managed with just one click, now wouldn’t this prospect be excited since their doubt was catered to without the need to wait in long queues.

3. Let’s the team deal with potential calls only

You will have multiple prospects who will explore and learn about your brand each day but not all of those prospects are the leads your company needs. So when you cater to all the leads which are not filtered, this will waste your time. Instead, you can use that time to engage with the right lead and convert them into a sales lead quicker.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) ensures that this is taking place as it resolves the queries of prospects who are just looking to learn from your brand but not invest. 

4. Caters to prospects across the globe

Another great reason to love IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is that it can cater to all your prospects from around the globe in the languages they would prefer. 

Let’s understand this with an example:

You can customize your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) as per the languages of your prospect. Not all your prospects would understand or speak in English, hence you can make it easy for them to communicate with you by giving them options such as press 1 for English, press 2 for French, and more.

This action wins your prospect over as it creates an impression of how far you would grow as a brand to engage and manage your leads. 

5. Offers better prospect experience

When your potential prospect realizes that they no longer have to wait for a longer time to get just one query of their resolve, they will be bound to be happy. In business, when you satisfy your prospects, that’s when you know that lead conversion will take place smoothly and this is exactly what IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is all about. 

Conducting IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is easy, but you need to use it the right way in order for you to receive the maximum results from it, hence we have covered the best practices that you can conduct with IVR (Interactive Voice Response) for your brand.


Best Practices For Using IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

1. Make your IVR process shorter

Your prospects will prefer a shorter communication channel to engage with your brand, so instead of 10 steps, if you could just put 5 steps to answer their query, they will still leave satisfied. 

The number one issue why multiple prospects leave your brand halfway is because they don’t wait to in long queues.  “Companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.  and this can only happen when you have a shorter communication process. 

2. Personalize your Interactive Voice Response

Your IVR will engage with multiple prospects such as clarifying doubts, guiding them to the agents, and more in such a process it is important that every service is customized, whether it is the voice messages or more.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Say for instance you have a prospect called Adam who is communicating with the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) frequently, the next time he joins the IVR you can start addressing him with his name, that will make him understand how you treat your prospects better and simultaneously enhance the service with him.

3. Give the easy option to connect with a human

A few of your prospects would prefer to speak to a human despite the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) providing an instant access to solve the query, in such a situation it makes it easy for your prospects to get in touch with a human from your team. Ensure that while you display the other options to solve the query of the prospect, this option too is included in the end.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Press 1 for details, press 2 for B details, press 8 to speak to our team.

4. Enhance your voice messages

As stated earlier, enhance your voice messages that your prospects hear. Make it sound more personalized, simple to understand, and adds a human touch. When your prospect hears it they should be able to continue the process and not feel that they are speaking to a robot.

Let’s understand this with an example:

We are all aware that IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a machine, but there is a difference when the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) says that without any emotions, ‘We can help you’ and saying the same statement with empathy in the tone. You need to ensure that all your IVR voice responses have that tone. 

5. Indulge IVR (Interactive Voice Response) with your other communication channels

Multichannel IVR communication

Make it easy for your prospects to communicate with you better by placing your IVR options in other mediums as well such as SMS, live chats, and more. This will help enhance the experience and make the communication process easy. 

There are already multiple brands that are making use of IVR , we have shared the top ones for you to take inspiration from.


Top Interactive Voice Response Use Cases

1. Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer made use of IVR to make their customer experience better.

The result?

Their average call handling was reduced to 10 seconds which got them to engage with more genuine conversations with meaningful prospects. They even went on to manage more than 1 million inbound calls in a month.

2. Scorpion

Scorpion is an international marketing agency where they wanted to use IVR in order to track the calls from campaigns so that their ROI could be better. With the help of SMS, they notify their prospects of calls taking place so that no one ever misses it. 

3. HomeYou

HomeYou makes use of IVR to connect any home services experts with the prospects. It could be a plumber, painter, and more. The great thing is local numbers are used to get connected so in this case the prospect’s private information such as their contact details is secured. 

4. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey as the name suggests conducts surveys on different fields such as politics and more. They wanted to use IVR to capture telephone surveys and it was a success as it was much quicker to capture the data.  

5. Arkansas Children Hospital

This hospital made use of IVR to confirm the appointments with a simple yes and no option. This action reduced the no show-up rate for the hospital and saved them $250,000. 


The Bottom Line…

IVR is a solution that has risen in popularity because it makes managing calls better for any brand.

Instead of having to cater to small issues of your prospect, you can switch that action for the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to conduct while you focus on catering to bigger issues. In this way, catering to all your prospects without making them wait or get angry will show a positive result for your brand.

So tell us, what did you think of this article? Did you find the article useful? What are your views on this topic? 

We would love to hear from you, to reach out to us, all you need to do is tweet

Leena Fernandes

Leena Fernandes

A writer by choice. Leena has served her passion for writing mainly into the B2B marketplaces.

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