5 Innovative Ways to Use An Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)

Discover how Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems are being used in innovative ways for sales, marketing, customer support, and more.

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5 Innovative Ways to Use An Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)

Some people think an Interactive Voice Response System is just for customer support. But it can be so much more. From facilitating a sale to gathering top-of-mind customer feedback, modern businesses are inventing entirely new ways to use an IVR system to make instant customer connections, all while reducing costs and increasing engagement. Across the organization — from marketing to sales to operations — business professionals are using this self-help technology to interact with customers 24/7, and seeing real benefits. Using a telephone keypad, employing DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency), or talking to an IVR — leveraging speech recognition software that is AI-driven — customers can make inquiries and receive immediate, considered responses. In fact, over 50% of customers think it’s important to solve product issues themselves rather than rely on customer service which makes IVR the perfect solution for businesses to deliver on their demands.

Reach More People, More Quickly, In More Ways Using IVR

IVRs offer a litany of possibilities to make a positive customer connection beyond customer support. Here’s how this technology is being deployed by businesses today.

1. Lead Routing

Interactive Voice Response systems are quickly becoming an entirely new channel that can support your sales operations and accelerate lead conversion efforts. Some businesses are augmenting or even replacing outbound telemarketing activities by pre-qualifying leads using an IVR. For inbound sales, marketers have found IVR technology is ideal for lead scoring: similar to qualifying questions on a web forms, you can immediately gauge interest by using an IVR to listen to a customer’s response. If the lead scores high enough, the IVR can can direct the call to a qualified sales agent to close the deal.

2. Marketing Promotions

Your customer’s IVR experience is no different than any other interaction with your brand. Proactive marketers know that when inbound calls occur, it’s a prime opportunity to inject your brand values, introduce a special offer, or deliver a custom marketing message, while routing them to their requested destination. Interactive Voice Response systems are also being employed in integrated marketing campaigns: by adding a simple IVR phone number to an email or print advertisement and local numbers work best. Customers can easily call to enter a contest, redeem a special offer, or take a survey and during those automated calls, important marketing messages can be reaffirmed.

3. Payment Processing

One of the more popular and convenient uses of IVR is to let customers conduct simple transactions, like paying bills or updating account information. The use of IVR, in this case, increases convenience by allowing customers to make payments using touch-tone or voice-activated technology. With a smartly designed phone menu, IVRs allow you to easily tailor call flows to efficiently and securely funnel your callers. For businesses, the use of this self-help tool makes collecting payments simple and customers prefer it.

4. Appointment Reminders

When scheduling a customer appointment, be sure to ask your customers for their phone number so you can send a reminder using IVR technology. Automated reminders of restaurant reservations, scheduled car repairs, or pending medical appointments are increasingly becoming the norm. The convenience factor alone makes it a no-brainer for customers to share their phone number. And when it comes to reducing no shows, IVRs have created huge savings for businesses, especially when you consider that missed appointments can cost a single doctor upwards of $150,000 a year.

5. Surveys

Surveys are a fantastic way to garner immediate feedback and make informed business decisions based on customer input. There are many customer touch points in which a survey is appropriate, the most common of which is following a recent transaction or interaction with customer service. These IVR-enabled surveys are usually limited to just a few choice questions, with the most important question positioned early in the call to accommodate for customer drop-off! Since the IVR can capture the voice of the customer, another best practice is to ask open-ended questions as opposed to offering a menu of responses. However implemented, IVR Surveys are an ideal method to collect real-time feedback so your business can adapt to your customers’ ever-changing needs.

IVR Technology-in-Action: Real World Results

Having illustrated a few of the most popular ways to use an IVR, let’s explore actual use cases and best practices. The following examples showcase companies who have adapted the use an Interactive Voice Response system to meet their unique business requirements, resulting in significant savings and bottom line growth for their businesses.

  • eLocal Grew Revenue by 45%: As an online directory that helps consumers find local businesses, eLocal sought to deliver high-quality sales-ready leads to home service and legal professionals. By creating a highly-targeted IVR campaign, they were able to connect their sales team with the live leads they required. Results: It only took one week for eLocal to build an IVR solution that has since grown call center revenue by 45%.
  • No-Show Rates Slashed by Half: Chope, a Singapore-based restaurant reservations facilitator, implemented IVR within their existing technologies to allow customers to easily book reservations while enabling restaurants to manage those bookings simply and efficiently. Results: A 50% reduction in no-shows, plus confirmed cancellations make re-bookings possible.
  • 50% Savings by Storing Data in the Cloud: Talent management agency, Development Dimensions International (DDI), screens talent via phone interviews, which were then recorded and archived on cassettes. In an effort to be more efficient, they created an IVR voice-based interview process. As interviews are now archived in the cloud, assessors can easily access, share, and analyze this data to score interview performance. Results: DDI was able to increase assessor productivity and save more than 50% in material costs annually.

Optimizing Customer Experiences With an IVR

Many businesses are using IVR inventively to improve marketing and sales, increase customer loyalty, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. If you want to deploy a customized Interactive Voice Response system that can adapt to your ever-evolving business requirements, consider integrating a cloud-based IVR solution. Twilio’s cloud communication APIs put you in control of your IVR so you can create exceptional customer experiences. Best of all, we provide your developers with the ability to easily integrate DTMF, speech recognition, and even a visual IVR, along with other self-help digital technologies, so that you can respond to customers, however, and whenever, they want to connect with you.

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