When you go out for an evening with your spouse, you don’t just leave your kids at home. You find a babysitter. And if you really love your kids, you find them a fun babysitter who will make crafts, or play cars or dolls, or whatever fun games they want. Of course, the babysitter has to meet your standards as well as your kids.
Or, maybe you’re busy with a full-time job, but you don’t want to send your kids to a communal daycare; so you hire a nanny to take care of them while you and your spouse are slaving away for your kids’ college education fund. Some families even hire nannies to watch the kids while on family vacation of if they just want an evening alone with their mate. If you’re going to leave your kids alone with someone for eight hours while you’re away, you have to make sure that they’re the most qualified individual for the job.
The perfect nanny has to be friendly, well-educated, experienced in working with children, and if you’re lucky, they may even be able to tutor your children. In fact, that sounds a lot like what a contact center would look for when considering a contact center software solution with IVR.
If you experience high call volume, or if your contact center agents are not always on call (if your contact center does not run 24/7), then you may want to consider an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu. An IVR is an audio menu that can use either voice recording, or callers can press numbers on a dial-pad, that determines a caller’s needs and directs them to the correct department or agent. IVR menus can be programmed with commands, or be recorded by an administrator at your contact center in order to customize the menu to your specifications.
A Friendly Voice
Will your children respond better to someone young and friendly, whose perky voice encourages them, “Let’s go brush our teeth, so that we can be squeaky clean for bedtime,” or someone grumpy who sounds like they’ve smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, rasping, “Brush your teeth and get in bed, kids”? Or maybe they would respond best to a pleasant, even-toned but authoritative “Alright, children. Brush your teeth; it's bedtime."
Your customers want to call in and reach a pleasant, upbeat voice on the line, whether it's a live agent or your contact center’s recorded IVR. Ensure that they receive the optimum experience by using a system that will allow you to custom-record an IVR. That way you can choose an administrator or a contact center agent with the most appropriate voice for your business.
Do you run a contact center in the healthcare, financial, or insurance industry? You may want a serene, but more serious voice to lend a credible impression. If your company sells a hot new product or has a more energetic presence, a perky, upbeat voice may be more engaging to potential customers. With a custom IVR, it’s up to you what is right for your business.
You might ask a nanny to throw in a couple loads of laundry while they’re watching the kids. They make a little extra and you get some chores taken care of so that you don’t have to when you get home. Having a nanny who is willing to run a couple errands for you is like have a personalized helper.
An IVR can also be custom programmed with the selection branches and settings that you prefer and you think your customers would find the easiest to use. While most companies can set up an IVR for you and be on their merry way, you want to look for a software solution that allows you to customize and change your IVR as needed through a simple interface.
Sorry, the Joneses Aren’t Home Right Now
What if someone calls for you while you're out? You’ll want that babysitter or nanny to take a message. If it’s an emergency, that person may need to get in touch with you and your nanny can give them the appropriate contact information. In this case, your children’s caretaker is also taking on the responsibilities of a secretary or receptionist.
After-hours or in times when a caller wants to speak to a specific agent, you still want to make it easy for callers to be able to reach them. Coupling your IVR with an Auto-Attendant allows for callers to be transferred directly to the extension or line of their intended party without the interference of an operator or receptionist. That way, the caller might be able to speak to an agent who was assisting them with a specific inquiry or a customer could talk to the agent who manages their account. If the agent doesn’t answer, the caller can always leave a voicemail message to make it easy for the agent to get back to them.
An IVR can even be programmed to send calls directly to your mobile or other phone when you are not available via your office extension.
What do you want to play, sweetie?
Sometimes, children don’t know what they want. Your babysitter is going to have to have some options prepared. Do you want to eat a snack? Watch The Lion King? Play Chutes and Ladders? Color in a coloring book? Hearing an option that sounds like fun will catch their attention, rather than the child being bored and fussy because they don’t know what they want to do.
In the same way, a caller might have a specific inquiry, but might not know which department to speak to about it. An IVR can list off department and extensions in a helpful manner to direct their call. Instead of “Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Billing…,” you can program it to direct callers with specific questions, which will affirm their decision rather than leaving them wondering if they will reach someone who can handle their issue. For example, an IVR for a bank might try “Do you want to check your Account Balance? Press 1. Do you wish to speak to someone about taking out a loan? Press 2.”
The more specific your IVR menu is, the easier it will be for a caller to access the right department and the agent most capable of handling their concern or inquiry. Skills-based routing is often used with cloud-based contact center software to more effectively find an agent with the qualifications and experience to help the caller. A caller may need a Spanish-speaking agent, or one who deals specifically with savings accounts.
You may also want a nanny who can tutor your children in addition to taking care of them. They may need general help with their schoolwork. Or, they might need a nanny who can help them practice speaking French or who can teach them more about long division.
An IVR with a variety of pre-recorded messages can route callers to the message which educates them, i.e. provides the information to answer their question. Some movie theaters have used this to leave a recorded message with movie show-times for each day of that week, for specific films, or in multiple languages. This answers the questions of a caller regarding common inquiries, and leaves the live agents available to perhaps take credit card information to reserve tickets for advanced screenings to the buzzed-about new blockbuster flick.
Other companies could use these messages for FAQ’s or inquiries that could be solved with a simple answer. Look for IVR software that allows you to update these recordings as needed.
Press Zero for a Live Operator
Some customers don’t like automated IVR menus and feel more comfortable speaking to a live agent, while others prefer an IVR so that they can check sensitive information discreetly, or are just shy about talking on the phone. Either way, you want to make sure that it is easy for them to access the most comfortable option on your IVR.
Like a good nanny, your IVR exists to take care of your customers and callers when you simply can’t. This may mean a little extra help in routing calls to the right department or it might mean having a fully automated system to handle inquiries for after-hours callers. Either way, you want to make sure that you find contact center software with an IVR that is the best fit for your contact center. This may mean a little bit of research before you “audition” one that works for you; but that’s okay, because you want the best for your loved ones, be they customers or your children.