What are the potential merits of visual IVR and routing menus for contact centers?

When it comes to call center telecommunications, many interactions with a customer begin with interactive voice response (IVR). 

This begins with an initial welcome and instructions on how to proceed through the routing menu. This announcement is generally less than 15 seconds in length. That said, our recent US call center research has suggested that this depends on the size of the contact center at hand, the number of departments, and the skill-sets and offerings of the business. 

After, customers can choose how to proceed with either speech recognition or, most commonly, either audio-only dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) or visual menu routing. 

How user-friendly is audio-only DTMF IVR? 

From a customer perspective, with audio-only DTMF IVR, there are limitations as to how user-friendly the experience can be. 

This is because there has to be a compromise between functionality and usability. Optimizing functionality increases the segmentation, and thus the number of options available, making the customer interaction longer and inevitably more vexing. 

On the other hand, optimizing usability can limit call centers to a single level of options, which runs the risk of users not being connected to the right agent – another frustration. 

For this reason, 72% of large contact centers and 68% of service respondents display three or more routing menu levels – whereas 49% of small contact centers and 100% of sales respondents opt for one or two levels. 

Similarly, larger contact centers offer more IVR options, with 54% of large (200+ seat) contact centers providing more than seven.  

This is another area where frustration might arise, as users will have to listen to a significant amount of options. However, this is where visual channels can go a long way towards alleviating such pain points. 

Advantages of visual IVR

Some studies have shown that a caller can navigate a visual IVR menu between four and five times quicker than a DTMF IVR menu. In addition to this, visual IVR offers businesses the opportunity to better assist their customers, improving overall customer satisfaction. 

Some of the key benefits of visual IVR for businesses and customers are as follows. 

For businesses 

  • Reduced costs thanks to improved call avoidance, accuracy of routing, first contact resolution and call transfer rate
  • Cost-effective, as can leverage existing IVR investments and scripts
  • Opportunity to gather more contextual information, assisting agents in better assisting customers. 

For customers 

  • Greater granularity of routing and improved functionality
  • Reduce the effort needed to access a solution, both with the system itself and the information provided by the agent
  • Lower wait times overall. 

To learn more about visual IVR and routing menus, and how the visual element can improve customer services significantly, you can download the full research report from the ContactBabel website, giving you the necessary insight and statistics to allow you to make the most informed decisions.