Understanding how your customers interact with your particular IVR system is the single most important means of minimising misroutes. Both your customers and your organisation have a distinct set of needs. While a generic, out-of-the-box IVR system may offer basic benefits, you won’t see real results until you begin to customise it.
To do so, you’ll need to make a thorough analysis of customer behaviour in the IVR system. Start by assessing call flow. Is there a point at which callers regularly hang up or zero-out to speak to a human agent? Is a particular type of enquiry more prone to misroutes? Are any teams or departments having to transfer an above-average number of calls?
While your analytics platform should be able to assist in this regard, it’s also important to speak to your agents and get their input. What’s the view from the frontlines? Are they able to identify omissions in the build content or any problem areas your analytics have missed?
Having identified any bottlenecks and problem areas, you can begin to alter the IVR system to minimise misroutes and dropouts.
Like most digital technologies, IVR systems are most successful when designed to fulfil a specific purpose. If you try and make your system do too much or solve too many problems, you’ll end up limiting its efficiency.
Maintaining too wide a focus will increase misroutes by complicating the menu system and confusing customers. If callers are presented with a long and complex list of options, they’ll struggle to navigate the system. By attempting to automate all enquiries, you’ll end up with fewer being successfully routed or resolved by the IVR system.
Consequently, it’s important that you focus on key customer issues, providing a satisfactory service for these enquiries and maximising the efficiency of your IVR. This means measuring, analysing and segmenting enquiries according to type, allowing you to determine which are most important to your customers.
Though you may believe that your IVR prompts are clear and the menu intuitively ordered, you’re approaching the system from an insider’s perspective. This means that your natural biases – the language, ideas, and processes that you’re accustomed to through your work – may prevent you from identifying problems with an IVR script.
The most common example of this type of bias is the inclusion of industry-specific jargon in scripts. Though you might be exposed to a particular term on a daily basis, callers may have never encountered it. When you spend all of your work hours communicating with a specific vocabulary, it’s easy to forget that it’s entirely alien to others.
To guard against this, you must test your menus and scripts before taking the system live. How does your test group interact with the IVR? Do they have any issues with the wording? Is the menu intuitive and of a suitable length?
Poorly designed scripts are one of the principal causes of misroutes. When callers don’t understand the options available to them, they hang up, zero-out or select irrelevant options so they pass through the system as quickly as possible. This negates the purpose of your IVR technology.
Misroutes are also often caused by incorrect data input or an inability to correctly interpret caller intent. If organisations can correctly identify a customer, it’s usually possible to accurately predict the purpose of their call.
For instance, if a company selling tickets to music events is able to correctly identify a customer who has recently purchased tickets, they can tailor the IVR experience to offer options relevant to the customer’s order.
A more streamlined and customer-specific IVR experience is less likely to result in misroutes. When your IVR tries to do too much, it’s difficult to communicate all of the information required. By using customer data to narrow your focus, you’re able to provide a clearer and cleaner service that cuts straight to the heart of the issue.
While many organisations require callers to input identifying information (such as a customer reference or account number) to do this, you can also use customer data you’ve also acquired to streamline the process. For instance, the phone number from which a caller makes their enquiry can be used to identify a customer and the purpose of their call subject to GDPR.
IVR routing is something that requires continued assessment and improvement. While many misroute issues can be pre-empted and avoided via intelligent design, others require you to remain vigilant, adapting to the shifting needs of your callers, agents and system.
In many organisations, call volumes will vary throughout the year depending on time-sensitive caller issues. For instance, a local authority Revenue and Benefits service is likely to receive a much higher volume of calls relating to Council Tax enquiries when they issue Annual bills or Reminder Notices.
If the IVR system’s call flow is not altered to assist in the processing of this specific type of enquiry, you’ll see a large jump in misroutes and callers zeroing-out.
The easiest way to prevent this from occurring is to shuffle your menu order or provide a new, single-issue routing option that deals exclusively with the specific enquiry. Typically, this is afforded a priority position in the menu – so callers don’t have to wait through all of the menu to hear the relevant option – minimising the number who misroute or dropout because they’re confused or frustrated with waiting.
The steps discussed above represent the five most important ways in which you can minimise the number of misroutes occurring in your IVR system. A large number of misroutes is an indication that all is not well with your IVR design and that it’s not fulfilling one of its key functions. By following our guidance, you’ll be able to improve the routing capabilities of your IVR technology, improving customer service in the process.