IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. It refers to a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF ( dual- tone multi frequency) tones input via keypad. IVR technology is also employed in telecommunication systems where it allows customers to interact with a company’s host system through a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which services can be inquired about through the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio. This directs the users on how to proceed further. A single large IVR system has the ability to handle calls for thousands of applications, each with its own phone numbers and script.
IVR and voice automation allows callers’ queries to be resolved without the need for queuing and incurring the cost of a live agent. IVR systems are employed for the following reasons:
i) to service high call volumes
ii) reduce cost
iii) improve the customer experience
In situations where callers do not find the information they require or need further assistance, the calls are often transferred to an agent. This allows agents have more time to deal with complex interactions, hence, improving the system’s efficiency. Dialled number identification service (DNIS) ensures the execution of correct application and language when an IVR system answers multiple phone numbers.
There are a number of fields where IVR systems find their applications. Some of them are as follows:
i) IVR systems are used in call centers to identify and segment callers. This allows the services to be tailored according to the customer profile.
ii) IVR systems are employed by banking institutions for customer engagement and to extend business hours to a 24/7 operation.
iii) Pharmaceutical companies leverage these systems to conduct clinical trials and manage the large volumes of data generated. In addition to this, they are also used for patient randomization, drug supply management and for recording patient diaries and questionnaires
Power dialing system refers to an automated telephone dialing system that connects prospects with agents more efficiently by allowing agents to focus on live connections instead of manual dialing. It makes use of a manually-configured calls-to-agent ratio based on which the system automatically dials the next contacts as soon as the agent becomes available. As a result, the agents do not have to waste their time managing list of telephone numbers and rectifying errors. They can simply focus on enhancing their interaction skills with frequent coaching and training sessions. Power dialing system ensures maximum engagement with the customers such that the agents are always connected to a live call hence improving the idle rate per agent and boosting customer satisfaction.
2. Eliminates time wastage:
Whenever a call is placed, there are a number of reasons for agent time wastage, some of them being uninterested parties, busy signals or empty households. Employing a power dialing system helps eliminate all these possibilities and ensures that the agents connect with the right prospect at the right time. It further eliminates unanswered calls, dropped numbers and automated answering machines. This is how time wastage is eliminated and unproductive calls are avoided.
3. Boosts sales:
Now, with all the advantages mentioned earlier, call centers can gain huge profits and long-term customer relationships. As mentioned earlier, power dialing system helps you eliminate time wastage, increase agent productivity, generate and nurture leads more efficiently, and also avoid missing opportunities. Collectively, all of these advantages lead to a bigger advantage i.e. boosted sales. With the help of power dialing system, call centers can witness their sales to get double or more. It further leads to improved ROI as it not only increases the quality of calls dialed but also the quality of customer interaction and hence, customer satisfaction.
In the context of a call center, the term blended agents refers to the agents who manage both incoming and outgoing calls and applications as needed. Need is determined by contact center traffic levels. The blended agents in any call center are trained to handle both incoming and outgoing calls. This training generally involves:
i) Automatic call distribution system identifying a rise in incoming call volume a
ii) Switching outbound agents’ duties to handle the overflow.
As an alternative, inbound agents can be assigned to outbound calls when the incoming volume is low.
In a blended call environment, the managers can decide when more agents are required for as particular role and instruct them to swith. And all this can be done in the absence of an automated system. Having blended call agents at your call center has a number of advantages like:
i) Increased occupancy
ii) Promotion of short-term offerings
iii) Reduced queueing
iv) Greater staff satisfaction
Blended agents have a huge potential of adding value to a variety of contact centres, and are especially useful in centers with few seats. The reason for this is that small centres are vulnerable to low levels of occupancy which further leads to low efficiency, based on peaks and troughs in call volume. In centres where low occupancy is a major issue, adopting a blended approach can prove to be highly profitable. Instead of revisiting scheduling practices, this technique can act as an efficacious solution to such a problem of low occupancy. Moreover, blended agents can be used on a short-term basis to promote campaigns. Inbound agents can be trained against a simple script to make outbound calls for the duration of a promotion. Employing a blended environment in call centers can also help utilize the resources efficiently and effectively.
Call recording software records telephone conversations over PSTN or VoIP in a digital audio file format but it’s distinct from call logging and tracking. However, the software may include both recording and logging functionality. The actual recording takes place on a recording system with software for the management of calls and security of recordings. Most call recording software applications rely on an analog signal via either a call recording adapter or a telephony board. It offers a number of benefits to the call centers that use it. Some of those advantages are mentioned below:
1. Knowing agents’ struggles and helping them overcome them:
Call recording along with call scoring can be used for accurately assessing call center agent performance. While call recording helps gather qualitative data from customer interactions, call scoring helps gather quantitative performance measures. In other words, it helps managers gain a more comprehensive understanding of an agent’s performance deficits and proficiencies. They can know about agents’ struggles regarding various call types by analyzing call recordings. This also helps them to gain a comprehensive understanding of where the agent is going wrong. Thereafter, strategies can be employed to enhance agets’ performance.
2. Providing sales training to the agents:
Call recording and call scoring, together provide valuable insights into agents’ performance which can further be utilized to provide effective sales training to the agents. This training should include educating the agents about different tactics that can help improve customer service. For example, they can be taught about the correct ways of pitching a product to the customer. Calls of experienced agents can be played to trainees or junior agents so that they can gain points from it. Moreover, bad calls can be played to point out the things that affect the customer experience in a negative manner and should be avoided.
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