Why You Need to Always Test Your IVR System
IVR systems are critical to the function of contact centers and business phone systems. As such, it’s important to keep them working properly. You can maintain them by routinely testing your IVR system–this will help ensure that it’s performing its job properly and still provides a decent experience for your customers and other incoming callers. If it’s not up to snuff, it’s important to be able to recognize problems quickly and resolve any issues.
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR): IVR systems allow incoming callers to be segmented into groups. IVR technology also allows companies to collect information from callers about their needs and reasons for calling. This allows the contact center to create surveys. This also makes it easy to determine where in the queue a customer should go.
Contact centers powered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) rely on the Internet and use software to operate. As such, they often require patches and upgrades to stay functional and operational. Every update, though, has the possibility of causing unwanted changes or having noticeable effects on your IVR. Your IVR can also change in purpose over time and require ongoing updates to enact changes based on updates to the IVR’s purposes within your telephone system.
In this piece, we’ll go over a few of the reasons you might want to update your IVR and we’ll also talk about how you can test your IVR system to ensure that it is continuing to meet it’s primary goals and purposes within your business. By the end of this article, we hope you’ll have a better understanding of what IVR systems can do for your business and how you can use them to your advantage.
- How IVR Systems Work and What They Do
- Testing Your IVR System
- IVR’s Role In Your Contact Center
1. How IVR Systems Work and What They Do
IVR systems are basically an automated version of a receptionist. They run the “virtual switchboard” in a sense by greeting incoming callers and asking them a series of questions or walking them through a menu of options. Anyone who has ever called a business and been greeted with several different options such as, “press 1 for the main desk,” has interacted with an IVR system. They are a really important part of running a contact center.
Contact centers are today’s call centers. They can do so much more than just handle phone calls. Incoming and outgoing communications of every imaginable type (such as SMS text messaging and online chat) can also be handled by contact centers. Increasingly, these non-phone forms of communication are also becoming more important to businesses. And as they do, more emphasis is placed on using these forms of communication and optimizing contact centers to manage them. With VoIP, it’s a lot easier to integrate these various communication types into a single location and have a group of employees manage it all.
The combination of IVR and contact centers helps to create more efficient business communications. As such, organizations can save a tremendous amount of money and resources. Of course, it’s vital to manage these resources properly and keep the company as efficient as possible.
2. Testing Your IVR System
To test your IVR system, you’ll need to think carefully about what your organization needs in IVR and what you want to accomplish with your contact center. We think it’s important to have this figured out first, because that will guide how you set up your iVR and any changes you decide to make.
Here are a few reasons you might want to test your IVR system:
- Updates and Patches: If you install any security updates, upgrades, or patches to your contact center software and IVR system, then it’s a good idea to verify that everything is still working correctly. Sometimes these updates change settings and you’re not necessarily aware at first about these changes. So it’s important to have current information about what is happening with your IVR right now.
- Upcoming Peak Use: Know of an upcoming time when your company will go through a busy season? About ready to launch a new product or publish a buzz-worthy bit of news about the organization? You may experience some peak use levels of your IVR and contact center systems. Now is a good time to make sure your software is all ready for the influx of calls to happen all at once. If possible, test for this far in advance to make sure you have the capacity. You also want to know how your IVR will respond when it undergoes so much rigorous demand all at once. A load test can help you anticipate the future and ensure your systems are all up to snuff for the big day or busy season. Testing is also a great off-season or slow period activity, since you wouldn’t want to be caught in a busy period without knowing if your systems can handle it!
- Capacity Changes: Looking at your current and historical data, you can change your system’s capacity. You will probably want to do this, of course, in response to changes in use. You’ll want to retain a buffer zone of excess capacity just in case, but if you have way too much capacity, you’re probably safe to make some downward adjustments.
- Customer Feedback: If customers are providing feedback about your IVR that necessitates changes or adjustments, then it’s time to test your IVR for customer experience and make sure you aren’t missing anything. You’d hate to have a bad IVR experience chase away customers from calling, so it’s best to know what they know.
Making adjustments to your IVR can be essential to keeping the customer experience alive and maintaining strong metrics. Since IVR is so important, it makes sense to regularly test for these reasons. You don’t want to be caught unprepared.
3. IVR’s Role in Your Contact Center
Just as a live receptionist is often the first representative in-person visitors to your office ever meet, your IVR is also a part of your callers’ first impression of your organization. It’s really hard to overstate the importance of this role and responsibility. IVRs may be just software, but they’re a chance to make a winning impression about your company and to provide excellent service. Don’t lose the opportunity and don’t lose sight of how important this is.
For many people, the IVR is something of a joke punchline. Many people absolutely hate interacting with automated systems. While the benefits of IVRs are undeniable for businesses and their contact centers, it’s vital that you don’t ignore the bad perception much of the public has–this is your opportunity to stand out. Don’t just look at your IVR as a convenient way to get information from callers. See the chance to impress callers and provide a winning or even memorable experience for them. Make it a pleasant, convenient and straightforward experience for people calling in and don’t frustrate your callers. Keep it short, efficient, polite, and even enjoyable, and your IVR can be even more of an asset to your contact center.