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How to Improve Customer Service After-Hours with Conversational IVRS?

Call Center Solution February 28, 2024

Even after business hours, customers still expect prompt assistance. This is where after-hours customer service comes in to save you from losing customer’s trust and loyalty. 

To address this requirement, companies are increasingly turning to Conversational IVRS. A 24/7 customer service system has an occupancy or customer engagement rate of 98% and the ones without this service have an occupancy rate of only 30%. This signifies the importance of being there when your customer needs you, which increases the chances of reciprocating your patronage. 

Companies today are using Conversational Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS) to automate customer-company interactions, especially when they don’t have the resources to employ live agents for the task. 

What follows is a guide on how to use conversational IVRS to improve customer experience and satisfaction.

Why After-Hours Customer Service is Important?

After-hours customer service is an essential link to achieving customer satisfaction as it helps businesses meet customer expectations by providing instant support. 

An effective after-hours conversational IVR systems; 

  • Improve Sales Conversions: Every time a customer connects with your organization it's a possible opportunity to make a sale. After solving the customer’s issue, it’s a chance to make sales.

  • Foster Customer Loyalty: 24/7 availability demonstrates your commitment to customer care. It convinces them that you are prioritizing their needs, which means the customers will stick with your brand.

  • Customer Retention: The customer acquisition cost (CAC) of a company without a customer service wing is higher than those that have one. Setting up a customer service system means a reduced churn rate. This is important because over 80% of the sales revenue comes from existing customers rather than the new customers who account only for 20% of the sales.

The Link Between IVRS and Customer Satisfaction

100% customer satisfaction is one of the primary goals of every organization. A portal to deliver enhanced service, an IVRS can play a key role in improving customer experience. However, a traditional IVRS system often falls short in terms of personal and satisfying experiences, especially during after-hours.

An IVRS system is beneficial for customer satisfaction as it can reduce wait times and have faster call routing. This ensures all queries are addressed promptly, with escalations directed to available agents and estimated wait times communicated for transparency. 

Moreover, an IVRS with natural language processing and artificial intelligence can understand customer queries shared in their language rather than dealing with pre-recorded menus. 

From answering all sorts of FAQs to personalizing the support system according to requirements, an IVR system can facilitate a smooth and interactive experience. 

What is After Hours Conversational IVRS?

A Conversational IVRS interacts with customers in a natural language over the call. It allows customers to speak freely and share their concerns as the system can understand natural language and has artificial intelligence. 

As a result, it provides a human touch to customer services and creates an intuitive experience. In addition to this, a conversational IVRS provides faster and more accurate responses while reducing misrouting and wait times. 

For an organization, a smart IVRS can free up agents to take care of more complex queries, and reduce call volumes, leading to reduced costs and better customer satisfaction. 

Here’s how it works;

  1. Listening and Comprehending: Conversational IVRS accepts the call and listens to the customers while comprehending the input.

  2. Response Formation: Based on the input, the IVRS, using AI and NLP will formulate a response.

  3. Offering the Response: Using Natural Language Generation (NLG), the IVRS system will share the requisite information with the customers in a language they can understand. 

Benefits of Conversational IVRS for Customers and Organizations

A conversational IVRS engages customers in natural language conversations, sharing information they need without any significant delays. As a result, the customers are satisfied with the services and stay loyal to the company. 

  • Quick Resolutions: With access to a comprehensive knowledge base of product information and company policies the IVRS can answer maximum questions from customers increasing First Call Resolution (FCR) and improving the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

  • Automation of Routine Tasks: With programmable automation in IVRS, it's easier to delegate routine tasks to the machine, while the human workforce focuses on innovation and growth.

  • Personalized Customer Support: Customers can ditch the complex menu selection and get personalized support through a conversational IVRS, increasing query resolution call rerouting to an expert.

  • Creates an Efficient Customer Service System: An NLP-based IVRS can quickly identify customer’s needs and provide personalized information, effectively reducing response time and increasing overall efficiency.

  • Saves Costs: By reducing the number of human resources required to handle customer queries, a conversational IVRS can reduce staffing costs. An IVRS shares the information customers need in one single call, reducing recurrent calls and saving company resources. 

Conversational IVRS in Action - Real-Life Use Cases

Several Indian companies are using a conversational IVR system to handle customer queries. Here are a few examples:

  • The popular airline wanted to make every traveler feel welcomed and well taken care of in their journey. Revamping their old IVR system, Delta Airlines brought in a conversational IVR system to provide personalized information and proactive alerts to the customers. As a result, the number of customers requesting a specialist increased by 10% and the system was able to capture caller intent for 75% of calls.

  • The popular Pizzeria brought in a conversational IVR system to improve over the earlier standard IVR. The new system is now available in Hindi and English leading to better convenience, making ordering over the phone easier, and streamlined customer experience.

  • eCommerce giant Integrated with local dialects, variations, and colloquial terms, Flipkart’s voice assistant is making it easier to buy groceries through the online platform. 

These examples showcase diverse applications of conversational IVRS across different industries. Conversational IVR systems have wide-ranging benefits on an organization’s capacity to improve customer experience. To achieve results, focus on the implementation part of an IVR system. 

Implementing Conversational IVRS | Practical Steps and Best Practices

For successful implementation, companies should adopt a strategic approach. In addition to the technical expertise required for setting up the system, you must also identify the existing technology trends in customer service for effective implementation.

  1. Set Your Objectives: Start by answering “What do we want to achieve”? The answer will influence the implementation process and technologies. Some of the common goals include reduced waiting times, increased self-service rates, and overall leading to better customer experience.

  2. Set the Conversational Flow: Map out the expected dialogue between customers and a live agent. Bring the same conversational aspects and tonality to the IVR system matching the appropriate responses. Explore multiple conversational paths and feed the data to the IVR system. To know the flow, check past call scripts to update the systems.

  3. Choose Conversational IVRS Vendor: To choose a conversational IVRS vendor evaluate all the available ones for their features, functions, pricing models, and integration options. Choose the one with on-demand scalability, NLP capabilities, easy integration, and higher security. Also, check vendor reputation, support services, and their portfolio.

  4. Data Preparation and IVRS Training: After choosing the vendor, prepare your data to train the system. Train the IVRS system with accurate and up-to-date information on the product and services. Include troubleshooting guides, knowledge base articles, product guides, and manuals. The content should be clear and tailored according to the conversational paths.
  5. Test and Refine: Testing is crucial to ensure optimal performance and build a flawless conversation-based IVRS. Check it with diverse user groups and problems to identify the issues and improve them before deployment. 

Best Practices to Implement and Deploy a Smart IVR System

  • Phased Deployment: Roll out the system in phases to minimize disruption enabling improvements and adjustment wherever required. Begin with simple tasks and gradually increase the system’s functionalities.

  • Clearly Share Agent Availability: Share the agent available with the customers when after-hours services are running. This is to avoid any friction and ensure seamless escalation of the issue along with sharing the estimated time with the customers.

  • Personalize the Interactions: Add personalized greetings to the conversation and wherever possible, personalize the interactions. Consider using the customer's name and using their past purchase history to personalize the interactions. This will make the customers feel valued and heard and build trust. 

Future Trends and Innovations in Conversational IVRS

  • Customer Emotion and Sentiment Analysis: IVRS systems will be able to recognize the customer’s emotional state from their voice or text and tailor the support accordingly. 

  • Omnichannel Integration: In addition to entertaining customers through calls, IVR systems can also connect and coordinate with other channels like mobile, social media, chat, email, etc. 

To Sum it Up

A conversational IVRS is pivotal to building a customer-centric support system. With capabilities like personalization, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing, a smart IVRS can significantly improve customer service operations. 

Improve customer experience with Elision omnichannel contact center solution and be available across all channels. Stay connected with your customers to increase customer engagement and loyalty. Get in touch to book a demo

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