5 IVR Metrics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

If you’re trying to improve the performance of your IVR system, you need to ensure that you’re accurately measuring its current performance. This means mastering the use of a wide range of important metrics. Here, we take a look at five measures of IVR success that will help you identify when your system’s working well and when it’s experiencing issues.

  1. The Holy Trinity – Call Containment, Misroutes, and First Call Resolution (FCR)

To give you a little more bang for your buck, we thought we’d roll three of the most important (and most popular) IVR metrics into a single category, giving us space to explore others in greater detail.

Call containment is often thought of as the most important IVR metric. It measures the number of calls that begin and end in the IVR system and don’t require agent intervention. It’s key if the primary aim of your IVR is to automate basic enquiries.

5 IVR Metrics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Misroutes measures the number of callers who end up in the wrong place due to faults or poor design in your telephony service. This can include reaching a payment portal when all the user wanted was information regarding opening hours, or talking to an agent from technical support when they wanted to discuss your returns policy. A high misroute rate means there’s something fundamentally wrong with your script or menu structure.

Finally, First Call Resolution (FCR) measures the percentage of calls that are resolved fully at the first time of asking. This is an essential metric, as no customer wants to make repeat calls to solve their problem.

  1. Self Service Engagement

Self-service engagement measures the percentage of users who attempt to engage with the IVR, as opposed to those who simply put down the phone or zero out to speak to an agent. The metric is an important indicator of the clarity of your menu structure and script, and should give you an idea as to whether your IVR is structured in a way that customers find useful.

If you’re troubled by low self-service engagement figures, it’s a good idea to research why customers don’t engage with the service. Though surveys and questionnaires are typically the best way to develop your understanding, there are a number of common explanations that may also provide a quick solution.

For instance, you may want to examine whether your IVR system offers the self-serve options your customers desire. Alternatively, customers often grow frustrated with a long list of options and hang up before reaching the information relevant to their call. In this case, streamlining your scripts and menu is the best course of action.

  1. Task Completion Rate (TCR)

Though at first it may seem similar to self-service engagement, Task Completion Rate (TCR) is considerably different. Rather than measuring the percentage of callers who engage with the self-serve aspects of IVR, it measures those that successfully complete their intended task.

However, TCR can be problematic if not measured properly. For instance, the IVR process can be followed to its conclusion without resulting in the full resolution of an enquiry. To remedy this, contact centres often distinguish between a ‘complete task’ – when a customer finishes the self-serve IVR process satisfactorily – and a ‘complete flow.’ This second category refers to a customer that completes the IVR process but does not achieve a successful resolution due to an external factor, such as an unrecognised account number or a declined payment attempt.

5 IVR Metrics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

A low TCR alerts you to issues with the workflow of your IVR system. Though customers are attempting to self-serve, something is preventing them. Monitoring ‘complete flows’ will also tell you whether a key input or a missing piece of information is preventing task completion.

  1. Average Handling Time (AHT)

Average Handling Time (AHT) is used in call centres all over the world. However, it’s also one of the best examples of a misunderstood metric.

AHT measures the average amount of time it takes to complete an interaction. Some call centres want to lower AHT, as this shows that calls are being resolved quickly and allows for a greater volume of calls to be processed. Other call centres desire increased AHT, as this demonstrates that agents are able to invest more time in providing high-quality responses to customer enquiries.

In reality, AHT means nothing in isolation and everything when examined in conjunction with other metrics – most importantly, call volume. With IVR, you want to see a drop in call volume (because more callers are completing basic tasks within the IVR system) and typically a corresponding growth in AHT.

If call volume stays steady and AHT increases, you’ll be pushing agents to the limit. If AHT is low but call volume is higher than predicted, it’s likely that routine tasks are either not being completed within the IVR or are not available in the IVR.

It’s also worth noting that AHT can be skewed by poor queue management and long wait times. If a customer spends 3 minutes navigating the IVR, 6 minutes queueing and 3 further minutes interacting with your agent, you have a handling time of 12 minutes. However, 75% of this figure is the result of poor queue management and handling time has been inflated due to no fault of your customer service agents.

  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

When measuring the success of an IVR, it’s vital that you get feedback from customers. While you’re clearly interested in those KPIs that measure the objective performance of the system, you also want to know how customers feel about your IVR setup.

Customer satisfaction is the most useful metric in this respect. Typically, CSAT is measured at the end of a call or within 30 minutes of the call ending. It involves a series of short questions to which the customer responds with a numerical rating on a scale of 1 to 5. The survey questions will usually revolve around how easy it was to use the IVR system, how easy it was to navigate the menus and how satisfactorily the system resolved their call.

5 IVR Metrics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

While a good CSAT score will help reassure you that you’ve got things right, a poor score allows you to begin identifying and isolating problems in your IVR system. Though it’s by no means a perfect customer experience metric, CSAT is an important indicator of IVR success or failure. While all other metrics may point to positive user experience, it’s not until you measure CSAT that you can be sure your IVR is contributing to a more streamlined customer journey.

What Next?

The measurements we’ve discussed in this quick guide to IVR metrics are central to the monitoring of your IVR system. Though each is useful in its own right, they’re most powerful when used in conjunction with one another. For a full picture, it’s necessary to look at an IVR system from several different perspectives and to corroborate the results from one measurement with those of other metrics.

Have a question or want further information on improving customer service using IVR Telephony? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.