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     Do away with call waiting: Automated SMS add-on for your IVR a…
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    Do away with call waiting: Automated SMS add-on
    for your IVR and business phone

    A practical customer service solution for small businesses such as salons, spas, doctor’s clinics, labs, restaurants among others.

    IVR has been the double edged sword for small businesses ever since it came into existence. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Giving full credit to the ways in which the technology makes life easy, everyone and their mothers would agree that by the time the instruction goes “press 1 for...” you’ve probably considered ways to live with your concern instead of waiting further for a representative to answer.

    That said, delete IVR from the scene, and no one — neither the company nor the customer — likes the idea of a phone call that goes unanswered. And mind you, the phone is here to stay and will continue to rule the roost for the foreseeable future.

    So if you’re considering new customer service solutions, your best bet would be to integrate it with existing phone channels. Better still, club together existing channels for improved results. That got you thinking? Good. Because among the channels that small businesses employ, there is one emerging winner with new age customers: SMS. Not only is it arguably the most successful outbound communication channel, over 81% of customers across industries choose texting for self-service options.

    What that essentially means for you is, if you put together the ever-dependent IVR with the highly convenient SMS in an automated form, it changes your customer service game for the better, in a flash.

    Give customers the autonomy to pick a different journey

    No one likes feeling stuck. Which is why customers appreciate any response, even one that puts them on hold indefinitely, over no response. In that sense, IVR has stood the test of time despite its woes because its benefits are undeniable for any business:

    Phone calls never go
    unanswered

    Customers get step-by-step instructions to resolve issues

    When in a queue, customers know the approximate wait time

    Besides, a well-designed IVR system can guide users to their goals seamlessly, and in most cases, the experience never breaks. Integrating an automated SMS agent with IVR is the most efficient and cost-effective way to capitalize on the benefits of IVR customer service while letting customers choose the journey they like — talk to an agent, continue with IVR instructions, or switch to a faster SMS response system. More than anything else, it is this sense of autonomy that will pay off in the long run.

    Majority of today’s consumers rate texting as their preferred mode of communication with a business. Over 60% admit they’d book a salon appointment or a travel ticket via text and switch to companies that offer updates of financial transactions on SMS. This is their natural turf. And by putting SMS to better use, you’re essentially hitting the vibe of your audience

    How SMEs can tap into the fruits
    of this technological symbiosis

    Small businesses thrive on grounds of good customer service. SMS and IVR play their part to add to the experience in their own ways. And when put together, these channels can fill the gaps that limit them individually and offer your customers a more empowering experience.

    Triggering automated SMS on an existing IVR channel is easy. The option to continue the conversation on SMS can be set up as one of the menu options. As a user interacting with IVR opts for SMS, the automated SMS agent triggers a greeting message along with a few options to help them proceed further. The experience is simple, streamlined, and flexible.

    Visual prompts have the added advantage that users can follow their own pace and also scroll back to previous choices while completing the process. Routine self-service tasks like booking a table at a restaurant, rescheduling a doctor’s appointment, familiarising with a salon’s cancellation policy, etc. can be managed using SMS triggers with step-by-step instructions or a related link that guides them to do it by themselves.

    This not only saves time for customers, but brings in very practical gains for the business. The workload on the staff can be reduced significantly, letting them focus on their core tasks. Additionally, the company can deflect all after hours calls to SMS, reducing missed call rates and allowing them to truly be open for business all day and night.

    Show your customers you care. Pay heed to their preferences and be where they are while effectively reducing your overhead costs. Want to learn how else you can benefit from better tech intervention in customer service? Ask us for a demo!


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    Sowmya Vasudevan