For any business that truly values efficiency, it is a no-brainer to have an IVR virtual receptionist. This is why an increasing number of companies are relying on this type of automated phone attendant system for greeting callers, asking and answering questions, and routing individuals to the right department or agent. However, virtual receptionists are not all the same. Just ask any customer who has found themselves stuck on hold for long stretches at a time. The following are some useful tips to help you take your virtual receptionist to the next level to provide your customers with a great first impression and leave them with a positive experience.
First Record A Real Person's Voice And Then Re-Record It
One thing about IVRs that annoys many callers is that they feel as if they are speaking with a robot. One of the most common criticisms made about virtual receptionists is that people want to be able to speak to a real person. Having a live agent for answering the phone isn't always possible. So until a caller is able to speak with a real human, make sure that the experience that they have is as close to being human as possible. Use your own voice to record all of your menu options. Then listen to your menu and be sure to re-record any of the parts that are hard to understand, awkward or seem forced. Don't rush through this part. It is the very first thing that a caller hears when reaching your business, so you want to make sure that you leave a good first impression.
Pay Close Attention To How You Word Your Menu Options
Just like all conversations between an agent and a customer, the responses you set up to use on your virtual receptions should always be professional and courteous. To take an obvious example: if you are selecting a response for when your IVR needs the caller to repeat what he just said, don't have it say "What?" That can sound rude. Instead use something like, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said. Can you repeat that please?" Even when a machine is doing all of the talking, manners are still very important.
Keep Things Simple
Callers want the same thing that you do, which is to be routed to the right individual as soon as possible. When there are too many menu options, your customers might feel like they are wandering through a maze that never ends. Make sure that your menu options are kept simple, and have as few steps as possible from start to finish.
Many of today's IVR systems offer touchtone versus speech recognition options. Just make sure with speech recognition that your IVR doesn't pick up background noise and think it is the caller's voice. That can result in looping and frustrate the caller.
Pay Close Attention To Benchmarks
According to a recent study, the average hold time across businesses of all different sizes is 56 seconds. When you are trying to gauge how well you are serving your customers and how fast you are at attending to their needs then benchmarks do matter. So determine how well you stack up against benchmarks. It can help you figure out what you need to do to improve your phone system.
Remember To Say Thank You
We previously emphasized manners, and this relates to that, but there is another reason for why it also stands on its own. Customers can get testy when they are on hold, so it is up to you to make sure that they know that their patience and business is appreciated. Just simply saying thank you can go a long way.