IVR vs Live Agent Services: How Long is a Caller Willing to Talk to a Machine?
I am sure regardless of your background, or experience in managing a team of inbound or outbound representatives or technicians – you can attest to one thing. IVR tree’s that require more than 10 seconds to navigate are annoying!
I am also confident that you would agree that the popular tactics of disabling the default 0 command on the systems to bypass the IVR, and voice activated solutions that do not work effectively only serve to agitate your already possibly agitated callers!
For these reasons we have always elected to keep things simple, and focused on the highest possible user experience. For any systems you are managing or integrating with, you should:
1) Make the IVR selections widely available and published
2) Keep the IVR selections to the absolute bare minimum – typically only requiring one selection before connecting with a representative
3) Once a selection is made, and in the event the caller is faced with a queue; implement a callback feature to allow a phone number to left and automatically dialed back when someone is available
To take this concept of user experience a step further, it is important to ensure the proper metrics are being measured and conclusions drawn to the cause and affect of any changes made.
For example, one of the most important metrics is the speed to greet. The faster it takes to connect callers with live agents, the higher positive correlation we see in user satisfaction as measured through digital and direct surveys, and direct feedback from our users and resellers. Monitoring for key metrics allows to constantly adjust processes, schedules and other work force management variables to ensure improvement upon the over all experience the users receive.
A simple exercise to complete to determine your core metrics would be to:
a) Identify the top 3 reasons for a caller to contact your team/department
b) Identify the top 3 desired outcomes for these calls and concrete ways to measure these outcomes (like our digital and direct surveys)
Armed with this information it typically becomes pretty clear what you need to do to help the majority of your callers achieve the most commonly desired outcomes. The solution is to notify the caller that if they are calling for X – the fastest possible way to get help is to do Y as soon as they call in.
Eliminating the IVR pick and any automated greetings and directly connecting callers with a customer service representative has allowed for the majority of calls to be handled faster and therefore satisfaction metrics are improved upon accordingly.
If after analyzing you’re the occasion for use of your phone line(s) you realize the majority of calls are sales or billing related – isn’t it good business sense to get these people connected to someone as fast as absolutely possible?
With any test, it is important to isolate for certain variables. That said, do not make too many changes to your processes (system or people focused) at a time. Identify your main goal(s) adjust for the low hanging fruit, monitor, analyze the results and repeat.
Wayne Goldstein is the CEO of GMS Live Expert, a Hosted Help Desk dedicated to the MSP Reseller Channel. His team of 100% North American Help Desk and NOC and Technicians, work to help their MSP Partners scale their businesses.