Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to Make an Interactive Voice Response System More User-Friendly

An Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) is very useful to both customers and businesses. It is the system that is used when you make a call and hear, “To reach billing, press 1; to reach accounts, press 2…”

To clients, the system is usually fast, can be accessed at any time of the day or night, and simple to follow. To the business, the system is cost-effective, effective, accurate, and solves the problem of how to sort through high volumes of calls.

However, a large number of clients still prefer interacting with live personnel as opposed to an IVR system due to the following:

  • It can take a while to arrive at the right option
  • They seem not to understand what the voice prompt is saying
  • The solutions offered do not match with their needs

Most of the IVRs have so many prompts that can be confusing, which make impatient callers irate. Moreover, some have to repeat the verbalized menu due to poor voice quality or forgetting which number to press. To eliminate the problem, most press the ‘0’ button to talk to customer service members. Unfortunately, they are put on hold for several minutes or moved from one department to the other, as their call is not sorted by the IVR. They end up hanging up in anger after wasting several minutes. These customers later vent the anger on the social media and forums messing up the brand reputation.

Organizations can escape the problem by designing an IVR system that is able to meet the needs of all the publics including the clients, customer service agents, and the IT personnel. Here are some easy ways to achieve this.

  • Know what the customers need most and design a menu that captures the needs accordingly. Get rid of menu options to problems for which they rarely seek assistance.
  • Do not automate all solutions. Overstuffing your system with an IVR only makes it confusing and cumbersome. Have call center agents to deal with more complex and creative problems with your products.
  • Keep the voice prompt language simple. Use a friendly tone in the voice prompt. Avoid the industry jargon as well as unfamiliar acronyms. Moreover, use concise sentences for menu items and following explanations.
  • Identify the callers by name. If callers use numbers stored in the database, have the IVR address them by their names. If not, design an IVR system that can capture their names when they identify themselves.
  • Go visual in IVR selection. Customers are more likely to use the IVR when they get a visual interactive menu either on the website or on their phones. It makes it easier to navigate through a complex menu. Include an option to have them called by an agent later.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

7 Biggest Challenges Entrepreneurs are Bound to Face

Entrepreneurship is a wonderful option for those who are driven and dedicated, and that is why there are about 50 million new startups every year. However, it is not always a smooth ride once the business has started. Here are common challenges faced by startup entrepreneurs.

  1. Fierce competition
    There are very few startups that are joining an industry without competition. Competition is getting tougher each day with companies trying to outdo each other for a bigger chunk of the market. The business owners should be aggressive and innovative in marketing their products.

  2. Cash flow problems
    Every business requires a stable cash flow for survival. Unfortunately, many startup owners struggle to pay their bills and those of the business when clients delay their payments. Business should ask for a down payment and put in place a budget to help maintain a cash flow.

  3. Inability to manage time
    Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats at the workplace. This takes all the time for critical tasks. This often leads to delay in service delivery and not meeting set deadlines. To eliminate the problem, entrepreneurs should set goals and follow them to the T, delegate tasks when possible, and assure every single deadline is met.

  4. Choice of products to sell
    Most startups end up lost in the huge variety of the products for sale in different niches. This often leads poor sales and lack of proper goals. It is important that startup owners do a market research on possible gaps they can fill in line with their strengths and capabilities.

  5. Lack of capital
    Many entrepreneurs have great ideas for the business but have little capital to start the ventures. They end up not starting at all. Entrepreneurs should seek various methods of funding in the business field and go for the less risky options wherever possible.

  6. Management of the business
    Most entrepreneurs are managing an entity for the first time. Thus, they face many challenges when making decisions on various issues concerning the business. Sometimes they make grave mistakes that bring the business down. Consultancies can help in coming up with proper decisions especially in the critical areas of the business.

  7. Hiring the right employees
    The employees are a business’s most important asset. They produce the goods and services and are a market touch point. Thus, having employees with the right qualities is a plus. Unfortunately, most startups do not know what skills and personal attributes are needed at the workplace when hiring. Entrepreneurs could remedy this by seeking the assistance of human resource consultancies in coming up with job descriptions and the hiring process.