This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
The interactive voice technology (IVR) containment rate refers to the number of calls an IVR menu handles without the need of a live receptionist. A high containment rate leads to several benefits, such as saving agents time, successful conversions, and increased customer satisfaction. Analyzing containment rates through IVR reporting is a great way to improve your IVR’s effectiveness in serving caller queries.
In this article, we further explore how IVR call containment works, the factors that affect call containment rate, and how to improve those numbers.
Want to know more about the role of IVR in the call containment rate? Check out our article on what is IVR and find out how it will benefit your customers’ calling experience.
How IVR Call Containment Works
IVR containment is a call center metric that helps determine the effectiveness of an automated answering system. A high IVR containment rate suggests that the IVR menu is providing callers with the resources they need to quickly address common questions or for basic routing requests. This then frees up inbound lines for callers who need the expertise of a live agent, which can speed up answering and leads to improved customer satisfaction scores.
The call containment process depends on the IVR structure. If the options are too complex or lengthy, callers will always skip the menu and go straight to the agent. Additionally, if there is no self-service or priority queuing option, your business completely wastes agents’ time and decreases operational efficiency. Fundamentally, it’s important to optimize the IVR structure to ensure callers are routed correctly.
Why You Need To Pay Special Attention to Containment
IVR systems are a powerful tool to enhance call center operations and are the most effective customer service tool. Hence, finding efficient ways to engage customers and get quick solutions is necessary.
Paying attention to containment affects customer satisfaction and the efficiency of your agents. If there’s a high containment rate, the inbound lines are cleared for callers with complex inquiries, allowing them to reach skilled agents immediately. More importantly, it eliminates unnecessary agent interactions and prevents customers from experiencing the hassle of long wait times.
When the IVR system is implemented correctly, more people will be left satisfied with your call center service. Otherwise, a misconfigured IVR system leads to long delays or infinite loops, leading to more angry customers and high call abandonment rates. It’s all about providing the most accurate and comfortable experience possible for your customers to build a lasting relationship.
Potential Threats to Your Containment Rates
Most businesses deploy their IVR systems incorrectly by focusing on cost-reduction instead of the customer journey. This approach potentially leads to several problems, which primarily affect customer satisfaction and the company’s bottom line. Here are the factors that ruin your containment rates:
Incorrect Structure of an IVR System
There are several ways businesses misconfigure an IVR system, and the most common is the use of lengthy introductions or too many menu options. Adding complicated options leaves customers on the phone for several minutes before reaching their desired destination. Often, customers are quick to abandon calls from such bad encounters.
Poorly Written Scripts
Another factor is the poor voice quality or the use of technical jargon. Lack of clarity in voice recordings frustrates callers, while the use of complicated terms will confuse them even further. All these factors will tempt callers to seek an agent instead, affecting your containment rates.
Callers Circumventing Phone Menus
The most common factor that ruins containment rates is impatient callers circumventing phone menus. If the menus keep them for ages, they either hang up or repeatedly press zero to escape the automation. The problem here is that making agents easily reachable defeats the purpose of your IVR system.
Most companies implement IVR systems with one goal in mind: automate customer-facing operations. This means the system attempts to prevent callers from reaching human agents without considering the type of inquiry or the reason behind the call.
Taking a one-size-fits-all approach when designing an IVR system without regard for customer needs is one way to ruin your IVR containment rate. This approach could hurt customer satisfaction levels and how your business conducts customer service.
How To Improve Your Average IVR Containment Rates
IVRs are one of the most useful channels for customer service. Many customers still prefer using telephone lines when expecting quick agent assistance. However, the true test of your IVR doesn’t lie in the number of solved cases, but in the number of queries handled without human support.
To help improve the overall IVR experience, here are ways to improve your IVR containment rates:
Create a Good First Impression
According to Nuance, a computer software company, customers these days believe that an IVR isn’t truly capable of resolving issues quickly. They immediately seek out an agent the moment they encounter an automated message. Enhance containment by establishing a good first impression.
One way to create a great first impression is to craft prompts that transmit all relevant information, such as product updates and business hours. Since the IVR is the first point of contact with your callers, it’s important to keep the message informative and straight to the point. This is not the time for upselling attempts or sales pitches. Your goal is not to let the caller sit through long IVR menus, but rather help them reach the correct destination quickly to avoid dropped calls.
Look for Custom IVR Solutions
Although companies have long used IVR to remove the burden on call center operations, customers are weary of outdated call systems. To better manage inbound communications, it’s time to look at modern solutions to revolutionize self-service. Business phone system providers offer custom IVR solutions to improve call containment rates. Some examples include visual IVR designers and conversational IVRs.
Visual IVR is a web application designed to help customers effortlessly navigate menus at first contact. This tool makes it easier for contact centers to seamlessly connect customers to self-service options and adjust user experience as necessary.
A conversational IVR, on the other hand, is a speech-based self-service powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Contact center providers like Nice use natural language understanding (NLU) through automated agents in online chat sessions. This removes the burden of manually navigating through confusing and hierarchical menus.
If you want to know which business phone providers offer custom IVR solutions, check out our guide on the best IVR systems. We identified the six best IVR systems to help free up your agents from minor queries and offer the best well-rounded IVR experience.
Utilize IVR Data Analytics
IVR data analytics deliver valuable insights in understanding IVR performance. There are plenty of potential breakpoints where a caller skips the IVR menus to reach a human agent. Regular data analysis of IVR systems allows businesses to identify the root cause and specific conditions that lead to these breakpoints.
AVOXI is a cloud-based communications provider that offers IVR reporting. This feature helps you identify areas for improvement and keep track of customer experience and agent productivity.
The data collected from IVR feedback surveys, such as interaction histories and customer demographics, are useful in understanding caller behaviors and preferences. Such data will optimize IVR flows, identify bottlenecks, improve customer satisfaction, and measure metrics like IVR containment.
Prioritize Customer Experience
A customer-centric mindset is necessary when designing IVR systems. When customers call your business line, they are programmed to think they will get a quick answer to their queries. They also love efficiency, personalization, and fast resolution times.
With those in mind, it’s important to design your IVR based on specific customer journeys. One example is biometric authentication, which replaces texted codes with voice inputs or facial recognition. This process accelerates the account verification process, all without human interaction on your part.
Routinely Update the IVR System
It’s imperative for IVR systems to continuously adapt to new technologies, business offerings, and changing customer preferences. IVR optimization becomes more attainable if call centers regularly update the IVR process, including the scripts.
The last thing customers want is to wait for a specific option that will never show up. In this case, the script should include choices callers seek out the most. For added personalization, you may update IVR greetings depending on new offers, specific campaigns, or ongoing festivals.
Your IVR call containment rate has a significant impact on the overall customer experience and the efficiency of your call center operations. If implemented well, customer satisfaction will increase and agents will have more time to resolve more complex queries. If the system is misconfigured, you’ll be left with more angry customers and countless dropped calls.
If you want to know more ways to increase your IVR containment rate, check out our guide on IVR self-service best practices. We list down the most valuable strategies to optimize your IVR system and improve your containment rate.