What Is IVR?

Gladly Team

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1 minute read

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With all the different ways customers communicate with their favorite ecommerce brands these days, it’s essential for companies to have a strong presence on as many channels as possible. However, specific channels consistently remain the go-to’s for customers wanting to contact customer service. According to Gladly’s 2022 Customer Expectations Report, phone calls are still the No. 1 preferred method of contact in support.

Phone is still the #1 preferred method of contact

Considering its popularity, ecommerce brands have to keep improving their voice support effectiveness. The good news is that IVR technology can be a game-changer. But what is IVR, and how does it actually improve the voice support process?

Let’s take a closer look at some IVR capabilities, key IVR benefits, how to use IVR in routing and other contexts, and the best platforms to keep your IVR and voice capacity a step ahead of the competition.

What Is IVR?

IVR, or interactive voice response, is a system of voice and touch-tone inputs that guides customers through automated solutions or toward a live agent. IVR technology is built on a conversation tree structure that gives the caller multiple options.

What is IVR
How IVR directs and interact with a call flow to send the caller to the right agent

A well-known interactive voice response occurs when you’re paying a cell service bill over the phone. Major cell phone carriers let users call, input personal information, and complete payments all without conversing with a live agent.

This ease of use and accessibility is a key reason why IVR is so popular, but also where some frustrations are created. Large companies tend to have a lot of obstacles between dialing the number and reaching a live agent, and often these ticketed requests are answered without any context, requiring the caller to relay their order numbers and personal information before a solution can be reached. This is why modern IVR needs to provide more personalized and time-efficient routing to make the customer feel taken care of.

What Is IVR Routing?

IVR routing is the process in which an IVR interaction moves a customer either toward a definitive solution, a live agent, or another channel. Calls can route to different parts of a support center depending on several factors. Some modern IVR systems, like Gladly’s, give customers the option to switch from IVR to SMS, which reduces inbound phone requests and decreases overall voice costs.

The routing aspect of IVR is the most crucial for ecommerce brands to get right because it determines how easily and effectively a customer’s issue gets resolved. Routing should be determined based on the customer’s needs, call length, and location. If routing fails to connect a caller to the right place in a timely way, this may leave them with a negative impression.

3 Must-Haves for IVR

1. Personalization

A more personalized approach to IVR should involve a system that forgoes ticketing in favor of a more conversation-based approach. In particular, brands should explore technology where the support center recognizes the entirety of a shopper’s interaction with a brand regardless of channel and be able to incorporate that history into the IVR conversation.

2. Smart Routing

Routing a customer based on their purchases or behaviors helps get them to a solution even faster by letting agents anticipate a customer’s needs, like canceling an order or checking shipping details. As a result, the entire IVR process moves faster and improves the overall customer experience.

3. Easy Access to a Live Agent

IVR is a key aspect of self-service, but knowing a real person is just a few clicks away is crucial to a positive customer experience. In fact, 57% of consumers want to be able to easily transition from a self-service tool to a live agent when necessary. By building that into IVR, brands can avoid any unpleasant surprises for the shopper.

Finding the Ideal IVR Platform

The ideal IVR technology can be integrated with a support platform that makes routing easy, correlating an IVR caller with their conversation history in order to give support agents more context at the start of the call. Gladly can do all of this and more, allowing companies to decide which customers get routed to which agents based on their lifetime value, where they’re calling from, or even the language they speak. This better guarantees a positive customer experience by always routing customers to the agents who are best suited to help them.

With a truly native IVR that tracks, responds to, and stores conversation information about individual shoppers, Gladly gives ecommerce brands a radically personal approach to support that offers a significant competitive advantage in earning valuable customer loyalty.

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