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A recent study conducted by eLoyalty shed light on how consumers perceive traditional IVR systems. The results unravel a love/hate relationship – users prefer a live agent over the automated self-service despite acknowledging IVR systems as useful to them. In the attempt to equilibrate between financial efficiency and the best possible customer experience, the traditional IVR system can in may times disrupt this fine balance. Where did it go all wrong? 

According to the study, the top three reasons why users dislike interacting with an IVR system when contacting a business are: “can’t find the right option” (32%), “it takes too long” (24%), “it doesn’t understand what I say” (17%). Lengthy call trees force customers to constantly pull the phone away from their ears to press the right button. Poor voice quality results in customers having to repeat information or miss their digit, and multiple options usually lead confused customers to dead ends. At best customers press the “0” button and get directed to an operator only to repeat information and be re-routed to the appropriate department, at worst they hang up due to sheer frustration.

Users think IVR systems are helpful for the following reasons: “It’s faster” (19%), “Cost Effective” (16%),“I can call anytime” (13%), “Better for simple or routine tasks” (13%).

On the one hand users dislike IVR systems because they take too long, on the other hand, users find automated self-service helpful because they are quick - the love/hate relationship with IVR systems cannot be better showcased. The fact that people acknowledge cost efficiency as a benefit of IVR systems indicates that users accept, and even anticipate interacting with IVR systems because they understand that automated systems help organizations become cost effective.

To the question how users prefer to interact with IVR systems, an astounding 57 percent replied they prefer touchtone while only 19 percent took to speech input.  If the majority of people prefer to use their eyes and fingers, scan displayed information rather than listen to instructions, use their keypad to enter data instead of speaking to a voice recognition system – why not let your customers do exactly that?  

Visual IVR is a visual, user friendly extension of your current IVR system, developed to lower costs and increase customer satisfaction, not one or the other. Accessed from the company’s website or by launching a mobile app from the comforts of their smartphone screen, consumers are provided with a visually guided menu interface of your existing IVR technology. Users can see and touch their way from menu to solution, or even view holding time and choose a call back option from a specific representative. 

A Visual IVR system is customer centric, enabling customers to perform routine transactions quickly and efficiently, without having them listening to incoherent instructions or zeroing out. Fast, simple to use and accessible 24/7 while lowering inbound call volume and generating high ROI, are what makes Visual IVR the optimal automated self-service solution for the organization as well as for the customer.

source: http://www.teletech.com/blog/2012/11/the-love-hate-relationship-transforming-the-customer-experience-with-ivr-best-practices/ 

[About the author]Dylon headshot Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.