November 10, 2021

Optimizing Your IVR to Improve Your Containment Rate

Optimizing Your IVR Can Improve Your Containment Rate

A successful call center relies on skilled agents, excellent products and state-of-the-art technology. One advanced system, interactive voice response (IVR), can be a powerful tool to streamline the route from customer calls to agents. Through voice and keypad interactions, customers can input data that guides them to the right person for their needs.

While these systems are usually a great asset, a misconfigured IVR can frustrate customers. This leads to dropped calls and damage your retention rate. That’s why you must set up and monitor your system carefully.

Containment Rate Can Indicate an IVR’s Performance

Your containment rate is based on the number of calls your IVR handles without the help of a live representative. When your containment rate is high, you save your agents’ time, reduce your overhead and even increase customer satisfaction. However, if most of your calls require a live representative’s help, your IVR may be configured poorly or cannot handle common transactions. 

Analyzing your containment rate can be a good indication of your IVR’s effectiveness. Still, you should also look beyond this KPI metric before making a final judgment about your system’s performance.

Although your containment rate shows the number of people who interact with your IVR without speaking to an agent, you also need to be aware of the following metrics:

  • Successful Conversion – The rate of successful inbound call sales/service.
  • Live Agent Transfers – The percentage of successful and necessary transfers to live agents.
  • Customer Satisfaction – The number of customers who are satisfied with their IVR/agent interaction.
  • Average Queue Time – The average wait to receive the requested phone service.

Monitoring your containment rate is necessary, but it is only one of the key metrics you should measure. 

3 Key Factors That Can Ruin Your Containment Rate

While IVRs are a helpful tool for agents and customers alike, they are not as effective if the technology is out of date. IVRs technology was first developed in the 1970s and has advanced much in recent years. Surprisingly, some call centers still use older IVR automation. This reliance on out-of-date technology can cause issues with customers getting the service they want.

IVR No-Man’s-Land

A percentage of IVR systems are so misconfigured that customers become almost instantly frustrated. Too many complicated options can keep callers on the phone for ages before they reach their desired destination — if they ever do. Often, these unhappy customers either hang up, scream “Representative!” or repeatedly punch zero to escape the automation

Some of these customers end up in a loop and never reach a rep, an experience that can lose you their business permanently. You need to reconfigure your system if calls take too long, if you have a high dropped call rate or if there is no easy way to reach a live person. 

Annoying Robot Voice

Robotic voices, although once at the forefront of IVR technology, frustrate many customers. People prefer human voices rather than stilted, ear-grating robot tones.

If your IVR is using an old robotic voice system, your customers or potential customers may hang up without trying to navigate the system. This problem leads to more dropped calls and a lower containment rate.

Not Enough Agents

When your IVR works well, it skillfully routes customers to your professional agents. Your clients get the service they want, and you have fewer dropped calls. However, routing to live agents doesn’t work if your call center is understaffed. In that case, your customers end up in a long queue or drop the call.

To ensure success, you should create a scalable call center capable of handling an influx of calls during peak hours or holidays. This step will help with optimizing your IVR and retaining your client base.

IVRs Are Still a Powerful Tool

Like any technology, IVRs have both strengths and weaknesses. The most frequent problems with IVRs are due to outdated systems or poor configurations. IVRs can provide a host of benefits when used correctly, including providing generic responses that answer a customer’s inquiry without the help of a live agent. Many simple requests can and should be handled by automation.

In addition, IVRs combined with Automated Call Distribution systems (ACDs) can allow complex inquiries to reach skilled agents more efficiently. The calls get to the right person the first time, eliminating the need to transfer customers.

IVRs Can Enhance Customer Experience

Your IVR has a significant impact on your customers. If it works well, it leads to customers who love its efficiency and leave the call satisfied with your service. But if your system is misconfigured, causing long delays or the dreaded “endless loop,” you’ll experience more dropped calls and many angry customers. 

You should be concerned with your containment rate, but you need to consider other metrics as well when optimizing your IVR. Customers are interested in reaching a live agent efficiently when necessary and dealing with an easily navigable system. As always, your priority is creating the most comfortable and accurate experience possible for your clients.

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