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Quality IVR Deployments: the 7 “Don’ts”…

In our experience, you can never over-utilize a good thing – when you get it right – mostly…

An IVR, – as a business necessity – doesn’t have to be a burden to you or your customers. Here’s SOFTEL’s shortlist of “Don’ts” for your IVR deployments;

1. Don’t Deploy Early: A badly-developed or poorly implemented IVR may have “holes” left unplugged. If there is a DTMF Option – or non-Option which drops callers into the void, with no supporting strategy – don’t deploy it. The value of post-implementation testing cannot be underestimated. Make sure you take *every* journey on your Production IVR *before* your customers do!

2. Don’t Auto-Divert: Many IVR’s sit in front of a telephony switch. Some sit behind it. Almost all are reliant on a telephony or IP sub-system, be it SIP or TDMS/E1/T1 Trunks. It’s clear that every IVR has a level of “back-up routing” in place. And that backup can have it’s own “strategy” or “vector” for dealing with what it might consider to be “stuck” calls – and that may be set to Auto-Divert them. Even with the best testing in place, you can never be 100% that one of those sub-systems isn’t going to pluck out one of unsuspecting, waiting calls – and throw it somewhere else entirely. When you are planning your testing – don’t forget that your legacy telephonyt sub-systems may have it’s own vectors and routhing rules for “stuck” calls.

3. Don’t Inadvertently Mis-Inform: It’s great to know where you are, as a caller, in relation to others waiting for the same Service. What a caller doesn’t want to hear is that they are now further back in the Queue, the longer they wait. It’s quite possible that a higher priority call has jumped ahead of them – or someone with a a higher “Business Value” – or yet another who has been re-entered into the Queue by an Agent – and so on… Those things can happen more frequently than you might imagine. There is a simple overriding rule which can avoid this – if your caller’s position drops backwards then stop announcing it.

4. Don’t Over-Inform: In our experience of reviewing the “customer experience”, we’ve come across many different scenarios in this genre; With a standard call to an IVR, there’s a dialogue about the Service offering, how the business sometimes record calls for training purposes, how they are committed to customer excellence, how they are in the top Quarter of their industry, what awards they won last year and only then what options are available to the caller. Then how the enterprise needs to conduct an identity check (IDV) – and *then*… “We’re sorry – all of our Agents are busy at the moment…”. It may be a delaying tactic – and you might think of it as a part of your overall Strategy to allow Agents to become available to take a call, because callers aren’t actually in the “Queue” for so long, but rather still in the IVR. But there is so much time wasted and so much frustration on the part of the caller. The solution is to make sure your announcements are in the right order – at the right time. A short burst of information before each set of Options is a good approach. Announcing everything before you offer *any* Options.. or before you even know if you are staffed to field the caller..? Not an industyry Best Practice approach.

5. Don’t Assume: IVR’s are based on decisions – not assumptions. You might *assume* that your caller is bound to know what your “XY&Z Team” actually does, when you plan and record your announcements. Be aware that, each caller who hears “XY&Z Team” are going to think of one of two things; 1 – “What the heck is an XY&Z Team..?” or 2 – “Ah – The XY&Z Team – just what I need…” But statistics show us that one of those trains of thought vastly outweighs the other – can you guess which? So make sure you find a good mid-ground to explain where each Option leads – not through to a “Team Name” or “Department” or “Service” – but include the “Function(s)” those areas provide, for clarity.

6. Don’t Over-Indulge: Perhaps you have 30 Departments – or perhaps you actually need 60 Options in your IVR menus. The great thing about an IVR is scalability. You could design your IVR to take the caller through myriad Options, weaving through your internal infrastructure, until the Nth Degree. Or – you could design it a different way. A great leveller for this dilemma is simple; use more than one incoming number for your Departments.

7. Don’t Delay: Sometimes, your callers may have to pay to call you – what they do not want to do is to pay to wait. Think very carefully about generating any type of revenue from callers to your Services. If your Service of support is intrinsic (“included”) – then why should your customers pay to call for support?

And these are just the tip of the “Don’t” list for a “Best Practice” IVR. If you want to know more, why not connect with us?