How to use your IVR system to gather consumer insights

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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To increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, call centers are now turning to sophisticated technologies, rigorous agent training, and customer-centric policies. But the question is, are these investments making an impact upon customers? And if so, how do they shape the customer experience?

For this, you may rely on your call center's interactive voice response (IVR) system. One way to find out is to ask the customers directly through post-call telephone surveys.

What's an IVR system?

closeup hand pushing landline phone button
Nowadays, almost every contact center deploys an IVR system. Simply put, it's an automated tool that interacts with callers via the telephone, gathers information, and incorporates them into a database. It's normally used in customer support to categorize callers' issues and route calls to the right agents.

However, you may also use them to gather consumer insights after every inbound transaction or during outbound calls. Here's how.

1.   Clearly define your topic.

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Choosing a specific topic for your survey may sound like a simple task, but it's in fact a critical step in customer research. One technique is to list your main concerns. You may also start from a problem your call center is experiencing. For instance, if you notice an increase in call abandon rates, you may ask customers about the factors that may drive them to end their conversations with a brand.

2.   Develop relevant and precise questions.

curious looking call center agent holding headset

Once you've defined a clear topic, it's time to list down the questions that will help you gather consumer insights that are related to it. Avoid creating confusing questions. Also, ask one question at a time, rather than cramming two or three different questions in one statement.

For example, a question like, "Was the agent you previously talked to knowledgeable and helpful?" can be difficult to answer. Instead, you may ask two different questions, one focusing on the agent's product knowledge and the other focusing on the agent's ability to solve problems.

3.   Ask restricted questions with predetermined answers.

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Open-ended questions can provide rich qualitative data, but analyzing them could take a long time. The best alternative is to ask restricted questions and allow customers to respond by selecting from a list of choices. The following is a sample question, along with the possible responses:

"How long did you have to wait in queue? Press zero if you waited for less than one minute; press one if you waited for one to five minutes; press two if you waited for five minutes or longer."

However, if your IVR system has voice recognition features, allow customers to verbalize their responses as this is more convenient for them.

4.   Determine the right sample size.

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For your research to yield significant and sound results, you must gather the right amount of consumer insights. Thus, before you start to carry out your telephone surveys, make sure to decide on the number of people you want to include in the study. You may also specify the other criteria they must fulfill, such as their age, gender, location, and others. However, all these will depend on your survey's objectives.