Contact Center Transformation Featured Article
Are You Evaluating the Success of IVR in Your Contact Center Transformation Strategy?
January 09, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
A contact center is a central hub to which customers reach out to find satisfaction, complete transactions, gather additional information or lodge complaints. The way each of these communications is handled can make a difference in whether or not customers continue doing business with a company. When a customer tries to complete any of these tasks via self-service channels, the experience has to mimic that of live interaction or dissatisfaction quickly ensues.
Self-service channels in a contact center help to streamline common requests and transactions. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is often used by customers seeking to complete an action on their own terms without live human involvement on the other end. The success of this interaction is often dependent upon the quality of the speech recognition software used in the IVR. Unless management is able to adequately evaluate the success of this speech recognition, customer satisfaction could be at risk.
Contact center transformation expert West Interactive (News - Alert) recently posted a blog that examines the correct processes for evaluating the success of IVR. The most important point made is that the self-service channel needs to be evaluated for more than just speech recognition, including completion rates, containment rates and customer satisfaction scores. This demands a closer look at what is working and what may need to change, accepting that all points of the customer interaction are not equally important.
For instance, complete resolution by the end of the call does not always indicate a satisfactory experience. If the customer has to answer “no” often – an indication that the IVR did not understand the prompt the first time – satisfaction can diminish. Customers that prefer the self-service channel will measure their satisfaction with the company based on the complete experience through the IVR, not just call resolution.
At the same time, not all failures are due to poor functioning of the speech recognition. A customer not following the directions or prompts correctly may speak an option that isn’t a valid response, triggering an error. In this case, transforming the contact center’s IVR may not be the priority, but instead the menu must be examined for ease of use.
Simply relying on customer interactions to identify the weak points in the IVR is not always the most effective testing strategy. For a number of contact centers, negative testing is used to identify the weak points in the system so adjustments can be made with less of an impact on the customer.
Negative testing attempts to break the system so as to identify the vulnerabilities before they reach the customer. This includes saying something along the lines of, “I need to take my purse to the dog groomer to cash a check” or something equally as ridiculous to see how the system responds. That response is then measured for evaluation of the speech recognition in the IVR, making changes where necessary to ensure the optimal customer interaction.
Contact center transformation demands a closer look at those customer-facing transactions that can impact the satisfaction rate. If the speech recognition in the IVR is not measured according to the same standards, the customer experience can suffer, putting loyalty and future revenue opportunities at risk.
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Edited by Rich Steeves
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