How to Choose the Right IVR System for Your Business

An IVR system is a critical element of running a successful business.  This invaluable tool can help you reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.  But, it’s important to choose a system that meets the unique needs of your business. 

In previous posts, we’ve talked a lot about the benefits of IVR (interactive voice response) systems.  We’ve also talked about some of the best practices when it comes to setting up an effective IVR for your business.  But, we haven’t covered one of the most critical factors for those who are new to IVR: how to choose the right system.

In this article, we’ll cover 5 of the top questions that you should ask as you search for the best IVR system for your business.

Recap: What is an IVR system, and why does my business need one?

Before we dive into the details of how to choose the right IVR system for your business, let’s talk about IVR. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems allow businesses to create automated greetings and messages.  When a customer calls your business, they’ll be able to access important information about your services before they ever speak to a representative.

An IVR system can drastically lower costs and increase customer satisfaction.  But, this is only the case if you choose an IVR that is well-suited to your business’s unique needs.

5 Questions to Ask When Comparing IVR Systems

Can the IVR system be integrated with other software and hardware applications?

In order to make the most of your IVR system, it is important to integrate it with other software and hardware applications that your business already uses.  For example, if you already use a CRM to manage customer records, you’ll want to make sure that the system that you choose supports integration with that software.  This will help you minimize costs and respond to customer needs more effectively.

Which types of customer interactions can the IVR system handle?

At its most basic level, an IVR can be used to direct callers to the correct agent or department as quickly as possible.  This is convenient for both customers and businesses.

But, many IVR systems are capable of doing much more than basic call routing, and you can use these additional features to your advantage.  Rather than placing a customer on hold for 10 minutes for the department they need, you can program the IVR to help customers do more without the help of a service representative.  The more that your customers can do through the IVR, the less time they are likely to spend on hold.  (And less hold time makes for much happier customers.)

Is the IVR system easy to modify over time?

An IVR system can help your business change and adapt as you learn more about your customers’ needs and expectations.  But, you can only do this if your IVR is easy for you and your staff to modify.

If only one person in the office has the technical expertise needed to update your IVR system, then chances are that it won’t be modified very often.  A good IVR system has the power and functionality needed to cater to customer expectations, but is also simple enough for almost anyone in your office to manage.

How will customers navigate the IVR system?

An IVR system should be intuitive and easy-to-use for your customers as well.  (For more information on configuring an effective IVR system, check out this article.)  After all, customers are usually calling with a problem or a need; the last thing you want to do is frustrate them with a confusing IVR menu.

The best systems allow you to provide clear, simple instructions at the beginning of the message, and then offer customers 4 – 5 options.  (It’s also helpful if customers are able to select the option they want immediately, rather than waiting to hear a list of options that don’t apply to their situation.)

From there, the right IVR system should allow you to create layers of menus.  For example, let’s say that a customer selects “Check my order status” from the menu.  They should then receive several more options or commands that can help them identify exactly what they want to know about the order.

Can I try the IVR system before I buy it?

An IVR system is a critical element of running a successful business.  If you choose the right one, you can lower costs and increase customer satisfaction rates.  If you pick the wrong IVR system for your company, you may find that you’ve actually increased your workload and the cost of doing business.

In order to avoid making the wrong choice, we highly recommend testing out an IVR system before you buy it.  Many providers offer a free trial or a money back guarantee so that you can test to see how customers react to your new system and if your employees are able to update it quickly and easily.

Learn More About IVR Systems

Looking for more information about IVR systems?  Explore the related articles below to learn more: