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IVRs and Skill Based Routing for Holidays

Using IVR & Skill-based Routing to Scale Your Business for the Holidays

November 13th, 2019

These days, it is common to receive a pre-recorded voice when you make a call-in to a company or organization. An interactive voice response, or IVR, is cornerstone technology essential for businesses that need to handle high volume calls.

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IVRs reduce the number of service staff required on standby with carefully recorded guidelines that guide callers through a service. With IVR, you can authorize payment for your phone bills, book an appointment at your neighborhood clinic or even confirm a reservation at a diner.

Unfortunately, IVRs do not have the ability to handle complex call queries. This is where skill-based routing comes into play. Skill-based routing (SBR) follows up from an IVR to reach a live agent specialized in handling the nature of the caller request.

IVR and skill-based routing services are especially advantageous for a business during holiday seasons. The holidays tend to have higher caller traffic than regular periods in a work year. Using these call measures helps to ensure prompt and efficient customer service and reduces queue times.

Things to Consider for Interactive Voice Recording (IVR)

A regularly updated IVR ensures accurate message content. Each recording should request and record relevant caller information to provide the best solution or follow-up service to a query. This prevents frustrating scenarios of live agents requesting repeated information, which harm the quality of customer experience.

Keep Things Simple

The instructions in an IVR should be easily understood. Since the purpose of an IVR is to route customers to the proper channels, concise instructions are key. Provide callers with a maximum of 3 options, for optimum clarity. For example, when phoning an e-commerce help desk, it may read as “press 1 for sale queries, press 2 for report of defects and warranty and press 3 for other services”.

If required, slot additional services into the next segment of a call as exemplified in option 3 from the example above. Additionally, services with the highest traffic should gain the coveted spot of being option 1, to speed up overall communication channels.

Seasonal Greetings

Adding a warm seasonal greeting to the start of your message can really leave a favorable impression. These wishes may make the call more personal and have customers feeling the spirit of the occasion. Friendly messages help while customers wait out a call during high frequency call-in periods.

Avoid Awkward Silences

Badly configured IVRs may contain prolonged silences that callers may interpret as a disconnection. This can be frustrating for callers decide to redial and to repeat an IVR sequence. Conducting routine quality checks will help map out potential user experience issues.

During peak holiday seasons, a well configured IVR is crucial to minimizing call times for both customers seeking support and employees answering calls.

Things to Consider for Skill-Based Routing (SBR)

Skill-based routing should be systematically inferred with the information provided during the interactive voice recording process. For example, if a caller establishes contact with the IVR of a hotel, they should be directed to the respective people responsible for check-in/reservations, F&B, airport charter services, or security.

SBR ensures that callers reach the most suitable agents without delay.

Rerouting to Agent

Callers prefer following up with the same agent in the case of subsequent call-ins since they have a query history. Instead of leaving a name behind or transferring a call (which in turn lengthens call hold duration), install a tracking system to ensure that lines are automatically tagged to the same consulting agent.

Offer the Option for A Return Call

All available lines may be fully occupied during the peak period of holidays. Instead of having a customer put on hold indefinitely, offer an option for callers to receive a return call from one of the staff once lines are free.

Well-maintained IVR systems will fulfill a service without a live agent or match skill-based routing to the most suitable staff. These strategies free up the costly need for hiring additional call staff during busy holiday seasons.

Reduce Your Holiday Queues

The holidays tend to chaotic, for both consumers and businesses. Providing your customers with the easiest route to receive service or support will help to ensure your customers have a good experience.

Utilizing an optimized IVR with skill based routing to connect your customers with the most suitable agent, instead of the next available one, will help to reduce your call times and improve productivity in your call center.