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Finding the Balance between IVR and Live-Agent Support 

Finding the Balance between IVR and Live-Agent Support

Finding the Balance between IVR and Live-Agent Support

11/18/2010
By Donna Fluss
inContact Blog

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LetÕs be real. The two primary reasons why companies use IVRs are to reduce operating expenses by minimizing the number of calls that require live agent support, and to provide service at times when no agents are available (which is also a way to provide customer service around the clock at minimal expense). This makes sense, as it costs approximately $0.05 to $0.25 to handle an inbound IVR inquiry vs. $5 to $25 dollars or more for a live-agent call.

IVR and speech recognition technology are excellent, and getting better all the time. When used properly and for the right purposes, phone-based self-service applications can automate a large percentage of calls. The challenge is to figure out how to use these solutions properly and to know which calls to target. Here are some guidelines to help you to find the right balance between live-agent and IVR-based support.

The simple rule is to use IVR or a speech-enabled IVR to automate activities that do not require a sympathetic ear, are not overly complicated, and where agents do not add value to a transaction. Also keep in mind that customer demographics are changing, and this will bring new opportunities to automate more activities. Millennials are more open to automation than baby boomers or the silent generation. Enterprises are encouraged to continuously review the performance of their IVR in order to broaden its capabilities and improve its performance.

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