The rise of interactive voice response (IVR) technology in recent years has partly been down to large organizations embracing it in order to better serve their customers.
6 Ways Interactive Voice Response Helps Small Businesses
However, small businesses are just as capable of leveraging IVR solutions and taking advantage of the various perks and features that they provide.
To explain the appeal of IVR in a small business context, here is a look at just a handful of the most impactful positives it brings to the table.
Before we dive in, it is worth providing a brief IVR definition so that you are up to speed with what’s being discussed.
In short, IVR describes a range of telephony solutions that allow callers to interact with the line without necessarily speaking directly to a human agent. This could be by pressing numbers of their keypad to make choices, or by speaking instructions aloud and having these interpreted by automatic voice recognition software to direct their call to where it needs to end up.
Cutting staff costs
Dealing with customer queries over the phone is a costly business, and you could be spending a lot of time and money to field the inbound calls made to your support lines, even if you only have a relatively small scale operation. At least, this is the case if you are reliant on flesh and blood employees to staff the phones and engage customers directly.
IVR is significantly cheaper in comparison, since it can automate much of this process and, if orchestrated correctly, can mean that customers have their needs satisfied without ever having to hand them over to a human team member.
These savings are potentially huge, with IVR queries costing less than $0.25 to process in most cases, compared to anywhere up to $25 that a live call with an employee might sap from your business’ finite resources and hurt profits.
Catalyzing customer services
The next attractive aspect of IVR solutions is that they afford small businesses the ability to streamline the way they handle customer calls and make sure that they are dealt with efficiently and quickly, rather than potentially creating consternation and frustration when the process drags on longer than expected.
This is partly down to allowing customers to self-direct the call to the appropriate individual or department, rather than using a human intermediary to do this.
Once again, by eliminating the human element from the equation, a lot of the issues of traditional telephony strategies are also minimized or removed altogether.
Creating marketing opportunities
IVR is not just a passive service that seeks to keep customers happy, but also a platform that can be harnessed for the purposes of promoting the business, the brand, and the products it offers, no matter its size.
Adding marketing messaging as part of IVR is straightforward, and can be done in a subtle way, which avoids it seeming like an overt tactic to upsell. You could advertise your latest products, promote fresh services and generally reinforce the brand image you want to convey, all without needing to bombard callers with ads or extraneous information.
Automating common customer interactions
The automation potential of IVR has been hinted at earlier, but it is worth delving into this a little deeper to appreciate the true potential of what is on offer with modern solutions.
Small businesses can turn their phone lines into a one-stop-shop for customers to carry out self-service changes to their details, for example. Here they can make payments, check up on the progress of orders, and do so much more besides, all without the involvement of an operator.
Providing after-hours support
Hand in hand with the automated aspects of IVR is the ability for contemporary solutions to let small businesses assist customers even when the office is closed.
Answering simple queries, allowing straightforward account changes, or letting them check up on order details over the phone will not only be more convenient for the customers themselves but will also have the added benefit of improving the reputation of the organization as a whole.
In turn, this should lead to improved levels of loyalty among customers, as well as increasing the likelihood that new customers will convert and stick around after their first interaction.
Last but not least, the benefits of IVR for small businesses boil down to making sure that there are minimal errors when dealing with the needs of customers that call.
While even the most experienced and well-trained human operator can be expected to make some mistakes, automated IVR systems are far more reliable, even when they are being required to field a large volume of incoming calls during peak periods.
Hopefully, you now appreciate why IVR has become so essential for all sorts of businesses, and are compelled to check out the latest solutions in this space for yourself.