In today’s world, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must create a professional image to stand out in a competitive market. One of the essential tools for any business that interacts with customers is the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. IVRs are used to direct callers to the appropriate department or agent and provide an efficient and smooth customer service experience. In this article, we will discuss why customized IVRs are essential for SMEs and how to create them.
Why Customized IVRs are Essential for SMEs?
The benefits of having a customized IVR system for SMEs are numerous. Here are some of the most important ones:
1. Professional Image
A customized IVR system can help SMEs create a professional image. It gives the impression that the business is well-established and has a dedicated customer service department.
A well-designed IVR system can also be used to reinforce the brand’s message and values. For example, a company that prides itself on providing personalized service can use an IVR system to greet customers by name and offer customized options based on their previous interactions with the company. This can help to strengthen the customer’s relationship with the brand and increase loyalty.
It’s important, however, to note that IVR systems must be carefully designed to be effective. A poorly designed system can frustrate customers and ultimately harm the brand’s reputation. To avoid this, companies should invest in professional IVR design services and conduct regular testing and optimization to ensure that the system is user-friendly and effective in meeting customer needs.
2. Cost-Effective Solution
IVR systems are cost-effective solutions for small businesses that want to provide excellent customer service. By automating the process of handling incoming calls, businesses can reduce the need for human operators, thereby saving on labor costs. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that receive a large volume of calls, as it eliminates the need to hire additional staff to manage call volumes.
Moreover, IVR systems can help reduce the amount of time and resources spent on answering common customer queries. By using pre-recorded messages or text-to-speech technology to provide information on common topics such as business hours, location, or frequently asked questions, businesses can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent answering these queries manually.
Not to mention that IVR systems can help improve the overall efficiency of a business. By using IVR to route calls to the appropriate department or agent, businesses can reduce call handling times and improve the customer experience. This not only reduces costs associated with handling calls but also helps to increase customer satisfaction and retention.
3. 24/7 Availability
Customers can call a business at any time of the day or night. By using a customized IVR system, businesses can provide 24/7 availability to their customers. Customers can access the information they need or leave a message for the business outside of business hours. This also can lead to higher customer satisfaction rates and increased sales.
How to Create a Customized IVR System
Creating a customized IVR system requires planning, strategy, and technical knowledge. Here are the essential steps to guide you through the process:
Step 1: Define the Objectives
Before creating an IVR system, it’s important to define the objectives of the system. This can include providing better customer service, reducing wait times, increasing sales, and improving overall customer satisfaction. Defining the objectives will help guide the design and implementation of the system.
Step 2: Identify the Needs of the Customers
The next step is to identify the needs of the customers. This can be done by analyzing call logs, conducting customer surveys, or simply talking to customers. By understanding the needs of the customers, you can design an IVR system that caters to their specific needs and improves their overall experience.
Step 3: Choose the Right IVR Software
Choosing the right IVR software is critical to the success of the system. There are many IVR software options available on the market, ranging from simple to complex. When choosing the software, consider the needs of the business, the budget, and the technical capabilities of the staff.
Here is a list of some of the most popular IVR software currently available in the market:
Twilio is a cloud-based communications platform that offers a wide range of features, including IVR capabilities. It’s easy to use, offers flexible integration options, and has a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which makes it an attractive option for SMEs. The pricing for Twilio’s IVR services starts at $0.0085 per minute. However, the platform can be a bit complicated to set up, and the costs can quickly add up if you’re using a lot of minutes.
RingCentral is a cloud-based communication and collaboration platform that offers IVR functionality. It’s user-friendly and offers customizable IVR options, making it a great choice for SMEs.
Plum Voice is a cloud-based IVR solution that offers a range of features, including voice recognition, text-to-speech, and call routing. It’s easy to use and offers flexible integration options, making it a popular choice for SMEs.
Five9 is a cloud-based contact center platform that enables SMEs to leverage IVR in their customer interactions. With a user-friendly interface and customizable options, Five9 is a popular choice among businesses seeking an efficient way to implement an IVR system. The pricing for Five9’s IVR services is usage-based, with plans starting at $149 per month.
Step 4: Create the Menu Structure
Once you have chosen the IVR software that best suits your business needs, the next crucial step is to create an effective menu structure. To create a menu structure that aligns with the needs of your customers, it’s important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the menu structure simple and easy to navigate, avoiding complex language or industry jargon that may confuse or frustrate callers.
It’s recommended to start with a friendly greeting that welcomes callers and provides an overview of the available options. Then, provide clear and concise options that direct the caller to the appropriate department or provide the information they require. Ensure that the menu options are logically organized and that the most frequently selected options are easily accessible.
Moreover, it’s vital to keep in mind that customers are more likely to have a positive experience with your IVR system if they can easily find the information or department they are looking for. Therefore, investing the time to design a well-structured menu will not only enhance customer satisfaction but also reduce call volume and wait times for your customer service representatives.
Step 5: Record the Greetings and Prompts
After defining your objectives and selecting the appropriate IVR software for your SME, the next essential step involves recording the greetings and prompts for your IVR system. These messages are the first point of contact that a caller has with your business, so it’s important to make sure they are professional, clear, and concise.
When recording the greetings and prompts, keep in mind that they should provide clear and concise information that guides the caller through the system. A general greeting should be welcoming and introduce the business, while menu options should be organized and easy to navigate. Additionally, make sure that you include any relevant information that a caller may need, such as operating hours, address, or website URL.
Moreover, the tone of the greetings and prompts should reflect the personality of your brand. For example, if you run a fun and quirky clothing store, your IVR system should have a similar playful tone. However, if your business is more formal, your IVR system should reflect a more professional tone.
To ensure your IVR system’s greetings and prompts sound professional, it’s advisable to hire a professional voice-over artist. A voice-over artist can help you create a polished, consistent, and friendly tone of voice that resonates with your brand values and overall messaging.
Recording IVR greetings and prompts by a voice-over artist from an online marketplace may seem like a cost-effective solution, but it is important to consider the quality of the final product. While online marketplaces offer a wide range of voice-over artists to choose from, the quality of their recordings may not be up to par with a professional studio’s standards.
A professional studio’s team of experienced voice-over artists usually has more expertise and technical knowledge. They can work with you to create a tone of voice that reflects your brand’s personality and values, ensuring that your IVR system’s greeting and prompts provide a positive caller experience.
Additionally, a professional studio’s services can save you time and money in the long run by eliminating the need for costly revisions or re-recordings. Professional studios often have state-of-the-art recording equipment and soundproof recording booths, ensuring that the final product is of the highest quality possible.
Step 6: Test the System
After the setup of the IVR system is complete, it’s important to test it thoroughly. This includes testing the menu options, the voice prompts, and any other features that have been added. Test the system from both the customer’s and the employee’s perspective to ensure that it’s working properly.
Step 7: Launch the System
After testing, the IVR system is ready to be launched. Communicating the new IVR system to customers and employees is essential to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any confusion or frustration. Without proper communication, customers may not know how to navigate the new system, which could lead to a negative experience and potentially even lost business.
Additionally, employees need to be trained on how to use the new system to provide effective support to customers. Therefore, taking the time to effectively communicate the changes can lead to a more successful implementation of the IVR system. This can be done through various channels such as email, and social media, or by informing customers when they call.
Step 8: Monitor and Optimize
To ensure that the IVR system is functioning effectively and achieving the desired goals established in the initial stage, consistent monitoring and optimization are crucial. By analyzing call logs and receiving feedback from customers, areas that require improvement can be identified and addressed promptly. As necessary, make changes to optimize the IVR system’s performance.
Creating a customized IVR system can be a great way for SMEs to improve customer service, save time and money, and increase sales. By following these steps, SMEs can create an IVR system that caters to the needs of their customers and improves their overall experience.
In conclusion, implementing an IVR system in SMEs can provide several benefits, including increased efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, and cost savings. This, however, require designing an IVR system that is user-friendly and customized to the needs of the business.
As such, it is essential to design it carefully to avoid frustrating customers and harming the brand’s reputation. The process of creating a customized IVR system involves defining objectives, identifying customers’ needs, and choosing the right IVR software.
For SMEs that may not have the necessary resources or expertise to create their IVR system, Mello Studio can be an excellent solution. We provide audio production services, including IVR system creation, voiceovers, and audio branding. Our experienced team of professionals can work with you to create customized IVR systems that reflect your brand and meet the needs of your customers. Contact us today to ensure that your IVR systems are of the highest quality and provide the best possible customer experience.
What is the importance of IVR in business?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an essential tool for any business that interacts with customers. IVRs are used to direct callers to the appropriate department or agent and provide an efficient and smooth customer service experience. Customized IVRs can help SMEs create a professional image, reduce labor costs, improve efficiency, and provide 24/7 availability to customers.
Is IVR a good option for small business?
Yes, IVR is a good option for small businesses that want to provide excellent customer service while reducing costs. IVRs automate the process of handling incoming calls, which reduces the need for human operators and saves on labor costs. Moreover, IVR systems can help reduce the amount of time and resources spent on answering common customer queries.
How organizations are using interactive voice response systems IVRs to improve business processing?
Organizations are using IVR systems to route calls to the appropriate department or agent, which reduces call handling times and improves the customer experience. This not only reduces costs associated with handling calls but also helps to increase customer satisfaction and retention. Moreover, IVR systems are used to provide 24/7 availability to customers, which can lead to higher customer satisfaction rates and increased sales.
How do IVR service providers help businesses to grow?
IVR service providers help businesses to grow by providing customized IVR systems that cater to their specific needs and improve their overall customer experience. These service providers offer a range of features, including voice recognition, text-to-speech, and call routing, to help businesses automate the process of handling incoming calls, reduce labor costs, and improve efficiency. Moreover, IVR service providers offer technical support and regular testing and optimization to ensure that the system is user-friendly and effective in meeting customer needs.