IVR is not a replacement for your sales force, but it can be used to enhance your current one. As IVR technology becomes more efficient, some companies are using IVR systems to automate simple tasks, lowering costs and increasing sales. According to Bill Gates, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency."
Here is some insight on how you can use your IVR system as an efficient, sales-boosting tool:
1.Route calls with speed and efficiency
One of the primary benefits Interactive Voice Response systems provide is quickly and accurately directing your callers. Some callers need to speak with a customer sales representative while others may need to speak with tech support. When callers are sent to the wrong parties, representatives might be speaking to callers meant for another department, an inefficient use of their time. Additionally, callers may become frustrated with your company’s IVR system and hang up: a Consumer Reports study found that 56% of callers are "tremendously annoyed" by maneuvering lengthy automated phone systems. According to Holdcom Senior Script Consultant Rob Lefever, “Most companies are using IVR to get the caller to the right person or department as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
2.Reach many callers simultaneously, not one-by-one
One of the benefits that is sometimes overlooked about IVR is that it can “speak” to many callers at once. An effective IVR system can handle hundreds of calls at the same time, minimizing misdirected calls. Phil Gray, Executive Vice President of Interactions, stated that his company reduced missed calls by 60% by implementing an effective IVR system. Their revenue increased by 15% per call. By using an IVR system, your calls get answered on the first ring, keeping callers moving through the system to the appropriate representative.
3.Give (and Take) Information
Routing calls is a benefit of Interactive Voice Response systems, but often overlooked is the ability of IVR to provide announcements to and take information from callers. Dannon Yogurt has used IVR in a more creative and nontraditional way: announcing current contests to drive marketing. IVR systems can also announce an emergency situation: “Some companies have emergency messages prerecorded, and in the event of an emergency, they can play these important messages to callers. This can prevent losing business – even when your business is experiencing downtime,” stated Lefever.
IVR systems can also take orders. If customers are calling specifically to buy your product and the order is simple, IVR systems can take the order. This allows your sales force to focus on customers who need more assistance. E.W. Scripps Co. has recently implemented an IVR system to be its primary sales force, taking about 200,000 calls per month for 14 newspapers throughout the US. The company employs about 50 to 60 customer service representatives and relies on the IVR system to handle most of the calls and orders.
IVR is a tool that, when used properly, can make your business money. When implemented correctly, the automated capabilities of an IVR system can magnify the effectiveness of your call center. IVR can also give and take pertinent information to hundreds of callers simultaneously. Furthermore, IVR can send your calls where they need to go--in a quick and efficient manner--saving you money and preventing lost calls.
4.Take care of design of call flow and quality of voice prompts
What can be an efficient business growing tool for your business, can backfire if it frustrates callers or makes your organization seem unprofessional. The time and effort to test the call flow, write clear concise scripts, and then produce prompts with professional voices that represent your organization in the best light, should not be taken for granted.