Advantages of a Cloud-Based IVR

Today’s innovative organizations are building IVR systems with flexible, cloud-based APIs. Beyond better customer experiences, a cloud-based IVR can have a positive effect on many measurable key performance indicators (KPIs).

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Advantages of a Cloud-Based IVR

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems have come a long way from the complex, legacy ecosystem they once were. Companies no longer need to resign themselves to maintaining stale IVR call flows well past their expiration date, subjecting customers to inefficient and frustrating experiences. Today’s innovative organizations are building IVR systems with flexible, cloud-based APIs and using their IVRs to connect with customers in meaningful new ways.

These businesses are discovering that IVR is much more than just a dial-and-wait service. Across organizations—from marketing to sales to service and support—companies are using this technology to interact with customers 24/7. And with IVR menu flows that are determined by A/B testing and data analysis of historical call records, they’re seeing real benefits.

Why Your IVR Needs to Evolve

Many businesses built communications systems with legacy infrastructure, based on rigid hardware that required long update cycles and weeks or months to roll out changes. These systems didn’t allow for experimentation, A/B testing, or continuous enhancements. They couldn’t improve over time because they weren’t designed to keep up with the level of service that today’s customers demand.

As the needs of customers evolve, businesses also need to evolve. Customers increasingly expect exceptional customer experiences from the businesses they interact with, whether it’s a retail store, an online travel site, or a financial institution. Today’s successful companies stand out based on the customer experience they deliver. They’re shifting their communications infrastructure to stay relevant and service the ever-evolving needs of their clients.

Experts agree. J.D. Power estimate that 30% of a customer's interaction with a company’s contact center is with an IVR. A great IVR experience isn’t just a “nice to have” for businesses, it’s imperative. Consumer research shows that 67% of customers will do more business with a company as a result of a positive communication experience, but over 50% of customers will leave a brand after just one bad communication experience.

6 KPIs for Success

Beyond better customer experiences, a cloud-based IVR can have a positive effect on many measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). When you continually measure the success of your IVR, you see what's happening in real time, so you know which aspects require your immediate focus. Understanding the unique metrics that apply to your business and exploring their interdependability will help you provide a best-in-class customer experience and accelerate your growth.

The following six KPIs can have a tremendous impact on your business, allowing you to:

  • Manage your workforce.
  • Control costs effectively.
  • Continuously improve the customer experience.
  • Increase the overall profitability of your organization.

1. Reduce: Decrease spam call rates.

When your agents are busy serving customers, spam calls are more than a nuisance; they clog phone lines and waste business time and resources. Your IVR is like a bouncer in a nightclub, tossing out the spam and letting only the quality calls proceed.

2. Deflect: Turn calls into texts.

Nine out of ten consumers want to talk to businesses using messaging, according to market research firm Vanson Bourne. And since calls are more time-consuming for everyone, why not use your IVR to suggest a text instead of a call? Agents can typically handle more than one text interaction concurrently, which means call deflection decreases costly voice communications by reducing the cost per contact. Your IVR can also deflect to an automated, self-service option, further reducing costs and allowing users to quickly resolve their queries.

3. Automate: Scale your capacity.

IVRs simplify customer support by automating many customer activities such as payment collection, balance inquiries, and simple requests. Customers with more complex needs or high-value issues requiring a human touch can be routed to the best agent, streamlining the process for everyone. For businesses, automation decreases the burden placed on customer service staff and can reduce the total number of staff hours needed to attend to customer needs.

4. Context: Have rich conversations with customers.

Infusing your IVR with real-time contextual analytics lets you capture and leverage customer information and route it to agents to deliver a personalized “wow” experience. The more an agent knows about who the customer is, what they’re looking for, and what conversations they’ve already had, the easier it is to provide better, faster service.

5. Efficiency: Reduce call handling times.

‘Handling time’ for your agents is a measurement that includes talk time, hold time, and wrap up time. From the vantage point of your customers, ‘experience time’ is the total time your customer spends on the call including ring time, time in your IVR, time on hold, and time talking to an agent. With an efficient IVR, both agents and customers can achieve more in less time.

6. Qualification: Increase the number of qualified leads.

In addition to being a tool for inbound communications, an IVR can also automate the process of reaching out to prospective clients. Perhaps you want to generate leads for a new loan offering or credit card. An outbound IVR can pre-qualify interest and support lead conversion, connecting qualified leads to a live agent. By enabling sales to pick up where the conversation left off, your agents can focus on what they are good at—selling.

Build it with Twilio

An IVR system is both a tool and a means to an end in your contact center. The best setups tie seamlessly into tools such as intelligent routing, to instantly assign tasks to human operators when needed, or transcription and recording services, to assist your workforce. Ultimately, the goal of an IVR is to help customers have more personalized and efficient experiences without them even noticing.

In theory, existing IVRs should be easy to change. But the reality is, changes often require statements of work for professional services. Whether A/B testing call flows and measuring changes in handle time or CSAT, or integrating IVRs into different custom databases, many businesses move their IVR control over to Twilio to have more flexibility and autonomy when making changes quickly.

Twilio makes it simple to build an IVR into your business's contact center. For companies that do not have developer resources or want to get into production faster, Twilio Studio lets you build workflows and make changes in content, routing logic, and more using a visual builder instead of code. This can be an excellent way for companies to quickly prototype IVR workflows, including everything from phone tree menus to surveys and chatbots.

Using a visual interface to build a custom IVR system allows every department within a business—including non-technical users in product marketing, support, and engineering— to design, build, scale, and A/B test IVR interaction flows. Twilio Studio uses an intuitive drag-and-drop visual editor with a library of omnichannel widgets that handle the underlying communication logic.

From “Press One” to Next Generation

Download our free e-book, 6 Key Ways to Reinvent the Customer Experience with IVR, that will show you how to push the needle on the most important KPIs for your business.

IVR e-book