IVR’s- The Not-So-Silent Sales Killers
Have you ever called a company expecting to talk to a human being only to be greeted by a recording that asks you a million questions before being transferred to an actual human being?
Interactive voice systems (IVR’s) are becoming more and more common as companies seek out alternative methods for effectively handling their call volume.
What was intended to thwart monkeys, robo-calls, and spammers from wasting your employee’s time has become a trap for the unwise.
While using an automated phone system may be effective in weeding out the bad calls, you never see all of the frustrated, yet genuine, callers that are ultimately alienated by these systems. Besides, if a monkey managed to call your business, you better try to sell him something!
If You Hate It, So Do Customers!
Think about it, if you hate IVRs and automated systems, then why would you subject your customers to the same experience? Everyone has had a negative experience with these, and it causes a good chunk of legitimate customers to end the call and seek an alternative provider for their needs.
Phones were designed to allow communication between two humans, not to connect you to a robot that may or may not be able to help you. Besides, when you do finally connect with a human, you’re starting all over, as most automated systems bring very little of your information over to the agent. It’s a system that seems built on making the receptionist happy instead of the customers, which is a conflict of interest when it comes to the sales process.
The Real Effects of an IVR
While you may think that an IVR or automated phone answering system may cut down on the costs associated with call handling, it’s actually costing you thousands in lost sales opportunities. The people calling your company may be legitimately looking for your products and services, yet are only going to be frustrated by the IVR. So even if the caller doesn’t disconnect during the automation, you will be working to recover from a negative experience instead of continuing a positive one.
Google reports that 61% of its mobile users believe it’s important to be able to get in contact with a company while they’re in the purchasing phase. That doesn’t mean they want to get in contact with your automated system, they want to talk to you DIRECTLY.
The IVR gives your customers a negative first impression of your business, putting you at the bottom of the hill having to work your way up. Also, automated systems aren’t great at retaining customer information, so when a customer does get in contact with an agent, they’ve got to start the whole information collecting process over again. For a business that seeks to streamline their call handling, an IVR does nothing but complicate it.
How to Handle Your Calls
We don’t recommend utilizing an IVR for your business, but if you must, we recommend only using it for customer service calls. Using an IVR on your incoming leads, like the ones generated by Move Over Media, can leave your sales process in the ditch. Those interested in your products need to be connected with a human as soon as possible, not an automated system.
From a technological standpoint, we find that IVR systems can often be flawed or faulty, so even if the caller uses the system properly, it may still result in a dropped call, and missed opportunity, that never rings through to you.
Providing your staff with the training and tools necessary to handle your calls is your key to success. We’ve got the info you need to successfully handle your incoming calls with efficiency and accuracy in our article, Answer Your Phone!
Alternatives to IVR systems could include round-robin and simultaneous ring systems, where multiple customer service or sales reps see the call coming in and can answer the phone. This means that you aren’t reliant on a single individual to handle all incoming calls, and can greatly reduce missed calls due to your receptionist being unavailable.
IVR’s seem like a great idea on paper, but are utterly antithetical to why people make calls in the first place. While it may seem like a great idea to cut down on costs and time wasted, you’re losing out on a lot more than any business is willing to admit.
To recap, IVR’s and automated systems:
- Give your callers a bad first impression of your business.
- Often disconnect the call before even reaching a real human.
- Wastes the time of both the caller and the agent they’re connected to.
- Costs your business thousands in lost sales opportunities.