The time it takes to connect a customer to the right agent is crucial in business. And as operations scale, so does the complexity of incoming calls.
A basic interactive voice response system can help to route calls, but a multi-level IVR system can take customer experience and call operations to the next level.
A multi-level IVR system uses multiple automated menus to guide callers to the appropriate department or agent. When connected with your customer database, it can gather more specific information from the caller and provide more personalized responses with its sub-menu options.
When an agent answers the call, they have much more information at hand with the help of a multi-level IVR. In many cases, such as billing or technical support, it may solve the issue without requiring agent intervention.
As with all sophisticated communications software, investing in a multi-level IVR system is a more expensive option than its simpler alternatives. And if you haven’t already, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of migrating your existing phone system to a VoIP phone service.
If you’re considering making the leap, here are seven instances in which a multi-level IVR is a must-have for your team.
1. You Have Multiple Locations or Branch Offices
When your business spans multiple locations or branch offices, navigating the complexities of call routing can quickly become unmanageable.
Someone may call from one location, time zone, or department and be connected to the wrong agent. This results in longer wait times, customer confusion, and potential lost business.
A multi-level IVR system can be a lifesaver, keeping various branches organized and connected under one brand-specific layout.
With the ability to create different menus for each location or department, customers can be routed quickly and accurately without needing a physical agent in that particular office.
Here are a few benefits multi-level IVRs can have for businesses with multiple locations:
- Direct and personalized routing: Callers can easily navigate to the specific branch or department they need, which provides them with a better all-around customer experience.
- Operational efficiency: Sophisticated features like geo-routing distribute calls based on the caller’s location, which means callers can get localized customer support.
Basic call center IVR systems fall short in multi-location settings, leading to generic experiences and increased handling times due to their lack of flexibility and depth. Customers are more likely to be transferred from agent to agent before they finally get someone who can answer their questions and solve their issues.
In contrast, a multi-level IVR tailors the caller’s journey to their exact needs so they reach the right agent quickly and efficiently.
2. You Have High Call Volumes and Diverse Service Needs
Having a high volume of calls is a blessing, but it can become a curse if your infrastructure can’t handle the influx of calls. The last thing customers want is to be placed on hold for extended periods only to talk to an agent who can’t assist them.
Multi-level IVRs can help alleviate this issue by using menu options to identify the reason for the call and route it accordingly. They can also offer sophisticated call-waiting features like estimated wait times or call-back options to keep customers happy.
Here are a few scenarios where a multi-level IVR can help with diverse service needs:
- Reducing wait times: Imagine a retail business during the holiday season, bombarded with calls about order statuses. A multi-level IVR can instantly route these calls to an automated status update system, which reduces wait times (and frees up your agents to handle more complex calls).
- Enabling self-service: For a telecom company, most calls are for balance inquiries or data plan changes. The IVR can allow customers to handle these tasks themselves, which again frees up agents to tackle more customized issues like technical troubleshooting.
- Simplifying navigation: In a large hospital, callers might need to reach different departments for appointments, billing queries, and medical emergencies. A well-designed IVR can help callers reach the right department without getting lost in a labyrinth of options.
3. You Offer 24/7 Customer Support
For teams providing 24/7 support, a multi-level IVR system isn’t just beneficial—it’s a must for adhering to IVR best practices. A simple IVR can take care of after-hours calls, but what happens when a caller needs support for an urgent matter at night?
A multi-level IVR can allow customers to select the type of emergency they’re experiencing and route them to an on-call agent who can assist them. It can also offer self-service options for common issues, minimizing disruption for the customer and your team.
A medical center is a prime example of a business that can benefit from a multi-level IVR system:
- Emergency advice: The system can direct patients to immediate care instructions or connect them with an on-call nurse for urgent queries.
- Appointment scheduling: It allows patients to not only book appointments but also select the type of service, preferred doctor, and even view available slots in real-time.
- Prescription Refills: Multi-level IVR allows patients to request prescription refills by entering their patient ID and prescription number, which the IVR system verifies against database records.
The multi-level IVR’s specificity and autonomy in handling calls ensures that patients receive timely and relevant support, which significantly reduces the load on human agents while maintaining high service standards.
4. You Want to Uplevel Your Customer Service
Whether your customer service is outstanding or has room for improvement, a multi-level IVR can go a long way in improving the experience, all through the power of routing and automation.
When your customers have to wait in line for extended periods, you can do plenty to keep them engaged and informed until an agent is available.
- Instant pull-up of information: Multi-level IVRs can recognize incoming customers and pull up their information, including personal details and previous interactions with your team, saving time for both callers and agents.
- Personalized interactions: The system can recall past selections or utilize Caller ID for tailored greetings, which makes customers feel valued and recognized.
- Customized wait experience: Along with queue position, you can configure appropriate hold music or messages to keep customers informed and engaged while they wait.
- Post-call surveys: After a call concludes, the IVR can automatically transfer callers to an optional satisfaction survey where they rate their experience.
Valuing your customer’s time is challenging with high call volumes, and multi-level IVRs can help you do just that by providing a one-of-a-kind customer experience.
5. You’re Looking to Provide Efficient Self-Service Options
Callers with simple requests don’t want to wait on hold for minutes to accomplish a quick task. These types of calls are a drain on resources and take up valuable agent time as well.
If your team is constantly managing routine tasks like updating contact information, processing payments, or scheduling appointments, a multi-level IVR can offer self-service options that enable callers to handle these tasks themselves.
Here are a few tasks that can easily be automated through a multi-level IVR:
- Account updates: Allow callers to change contact information or update payment methods securely.
- Payments: The IVR can take payments directly, allowing customers to pay at any time and reducing the load on agents processing payments.
- Order status: With access to real-time data, the system can provide callers with up-to-date information on their orders without needing to speak to an agent.
A multi-level IVR system can use information from your company’s database to manage various tasks, allowing for efficient self-service options that enhance the customer experience and reduce excessive call routing for your team.
6. You Need Advanced Analytics and Feedback
Improving call center operations is nearly impossible without measuring and analyzing your performance.
A multi-level IVR system may come with advanced analytics and feedback on call volume, wait times, frequently asked questions, and even the effectiveness of self-service options.
Here are a few specific metrics that a multi-level IVR system can provide:
- Call duration: Measure how long your customers navigate the system and speak with agents.
- Call abandonment: See if your callers give up while waiting on hold or navigating options to speak with an agent.
- First call resolution: Track the percentage of calls that are resolved on the first interaction.
- Feedback analysis: Analyze feedback from post-call customer surveys to identify areas for improvement.
Setting up a multi-level IVR system involves both strategic planning and technical execution to ensure that it effectively meets the needs of your business and customers.
Begin by mapping out the caller journey to identify common requests and queries that can be automated. Then, work with your telephony provider to create an optimized IVR call flow structure.
Tracking your metrics will allow you to A/B test and improve your IVR system over time, providing the best possible experience for both customers and agents.
7. You’re Experiencing Rapid Growth
If you’re adding a new department to your team, expanding into a new market, or expecting an influx of calls during peak seasons, a multi-level IVR can help you scale your operations quickly and efficiently.
Traditional IVR systems often require manual updates and changes whenever there are shifts in the organization or business. Multi-level IVRs, on the other hand, can be easily modified and updated to handle new departments or services without disrupting existing call flow.
Here are a few of the ways a multi-level IVR can help you scale your operations:
- Automatic department routing: The IVR system can automatically route calls to a new department or team based on the caller’s selection, streamlining the process and reducing transfer times.
- Call overflow management: During peak call periods, an IVR system can manage call volume by offering self-service options or allowing callers to leave a voicemail for a callback.
- Virtual receptionist: A multi-level IVR can act as a virtual receptionist, handling customer inquiries or directing calls to the appropriate channels without needing a physical receptionist.
Not only will this save time in scaling a business, but it can also save money by reducing the need for additional staff.