Yes, we said it. Transaction calls are possible in 90 seconds or less. The secret lies in how your self-service system works. If it runs smoothly and without wait time, a minute and a half is the maximum amount of time it should take your customers to work through an average transaction call, such as making a credit card payment over the phone.
These short calls not only save callers time but also result in better customer experiences and give your customer self-service a major edge. Just think how much 90 seconds could improve your satisfaction scores.
And the great thing is this goal is achievable right now with technology currently available. Let’s take a closer look at how it’s possible.
In fact, some of the tech has been around for quite some time. The history of IVR has had its ups and downs with customers, but recent advances have brought it back into the good graces of both contact centers and customers. Like a web browser, IVR applications can input, request, and present dynamic information from databases, CRMs, and other systems in real time, so virtually any task or process that requires numeric, text, or speech input can be a candidate for IVR automation. Thus, from the first ring, your customers aren’t waiting to talk to an agent, which reduces your average hold time.
Streamlining Your IVR
In pursuit of the most effective IVR possible, consider what information your customers want the most and what data they need to provide in order to obtain their information. Once you determine these details, you can build that IVR experience in the most user-friendly and efficient way possible.
- Since our goal here is 90 seconds or less, your self-service option should be designed to keep phone call times as low as possible. Use call analytics to show which menu options callers select most often. Put those menu options first and less popular ones towards the end of any menu.
- This should go without saying, but the more prompts or menus your callers encounter, the longer their calls will be. Many IVRs out there take the time to verify every input a caller makes. Let’s think that through: When you buy something online, does the website ask you to verify every single step? Or does it simply ask you to verify all your information in a single, summary step? If verification is necessary for your transactions, consider a one-step summary just before the transaction is finalized, such as “Press 1 to confirm you are making a payment dated today in the amount of $X with your credit card ending in 1, 2, 3, 4.”
- Your prompts should provide the necessary information as briefly as possible. For example, as simple as it sounds, placing the information before the instructions helps to reduce call time – merely because your customers can count. They intuitively know that when they hear their menu option, they will likely have success with hitting the next sequential number.
- Similarly, make the process easier for repeat callers by allowing “bargeable prompts,” whereby callers can enter their number selection at any point during the instructions.
You’ll also need to carefully think through the information you need your IVR to gather and the most efficient way to collect it. For instance:
- What format should identification data take? Does your IVR really need to repeat back all digits of an account number, or would the last four digits be sufficient?
- Do you want to give callers the option of speaking their selection, or will they be limited to the keys? If so, does the flexibility of providing two input methods outweigh the longer prompts necessary to explain them?
- Can you use standard DTMF conventions such as the star key to return to main menu, or the 0 key to speak to an agent or operator? Whatever your conventions, be sure to standardize them across all menus in your application.
Here are some additional points to consider that make life easier on all callers, regardless of call duration:
- How will you quickly and most easily handle caller errors? Best practice is to give users one initial try and then two additional opportunities before initiating the error process.
- Can you personalize any aspect of the process, such as IDing customers by name and providing an additional piece of information such as recent online actions, that can quickly help the caller feel like “more than a number”?
- When self-service isn’t enough, how will you most efficiently provide your callers access to a live agent?
The Next Level
When you’re ready to supercharge your transactional calls, consider call routing powered by the latest advances in artificial intelligence and natural language processing: Your callers simply state why they’re calling and are immediately routed to the right place. AI determines caller intent without any waiting or extensive phone tree menus, which accelerates call routing and decreases overall call time.
Press an Advantage
So that’s how the latest advances in IVR and AI can benefit your customers — but equally important are the advances Plum Voice has made that benefit you and your team. We analyzed hundreds of customer-service apps that have handled billions of phone calls over the past fifteen years to build PlumFuse+, our IVR application platform that is both easy to use and fully customizable through drag-and-drop interfaces. Fuse+ provides an intuitive call flow editor that lets you create IVR applications without coding, so you can launch customer-friendly IVR services in days, not months. Built-in analytics and reporting make it easier to optimize applications for great customer experiences.
In just one example, you can use the pre-built Fuse+ payment app to implement a dedicated payment channel that is PCI-DSS (level 1) certified and is built on top tier telecom infrastructure. And even when pre-built, you can still customize our apps to tailor-fit the needs of your company and your customers: increase the efficiency of the payment process, easily expand payment processing to new markets, complete more overall payments, and reduce the cost of customer service while delivering great customer experiences.
Need an additional bonus? Not only are these options easy to build and implement, but they provide service options that are available 24/7 — readily accessible whenever your customers have 90 seconds to spare.