Is your company having trouble managing its high incoming call volume? Customers calling to activate accounts or make payments or complete simple tasks? And it’s taking precious time away from your employees, who could instead be doing more important tasks? Then, you may want to consider creating and utilizing a phone tree through an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Learn how here.
Phone Tree: An Organizational Tool for Business Communication
First, what is a phone tree and how does it work? A phone tree works alongside your IVR system. IVR is an automated voice response that answers calls and helps callers navigate through a series of menus to resolve the reason they called. You can integrate IVR into your office communication system by subscribing to it from a cloud-based phone service provider like GlobalCallForwarding.
If set up correctly, the IVR will answer calls and ask callers questions which callers will answer by inputting numbers and keys on their keypad. For example, Press 1 for ___, Press 2 for ___, and so on. Caller input will determine the next course of action, whether the IVR will present more options or transfer the caller to the right department or agent. Additionally, IVR systems work with private branch exchange (PBX) systems to make department extensions available.
How to Create the Right Phone Tree
Companies can create a phone tree from their local business numbers or their 1800 toll free business numbers. A good virtual phone service provider will give you the ability to customize your phone tree to develop one that is ideal for your business’ needs. When creating the map callers will follow, consider these factors:
- Do you want to offer self-serving solutions? Such as letting them make payments or get account information through automation instead of speaking with agents?
- How many and what processes do you want to include? In other words, how many layers of menus do you want to set up?
- What information should the system collect and how will it do so?
- When should the call be transferred to an agent or customer service rep?
- What issues may pop up and how could you solve those issues?
It is important to consider the customers’ perspective and how the IVR will interact with them. Keep the map simple and easy to follow. The more complicated the structure, the more it will discourage callers and lead to abandoned calls.
Improve Caller Experience and Manage Call Volume
Customizable phone trees will let you personalize the way your company interacts with its clients. You can even offer after-hours support and care through an efficient and self-serving phone tree. For example, a pharmaceutical company’s IVR may start out as: Press 1 for English, Press 2 for French. Then, based on what number the caller presses, then the next level could be: To inquire about drug information, press 1. To fill a new prescription, press 2. For prescription renewals, press 3. To speak with a pharmacist, press 4. Again, based on caller input, the phone tree directs the caller to different departments or completes the task through automation.
Having your IVR set up this way will help strengthen your company’s professional image. And will let you organize calls so that the right calls go to the right department, and smaller tasks that can be completed by the IVR don’t clog up your phone lines. Agents and salespeople are then free to pursue more difficult tasks.
The Road to Office Productivity
An efficient organization can really help boost productivity. It ensures no time is wasted on unnecessary tasks and everyone is working towards the same end goal. This is why many businesses are integrating IVR phone trees into their communication system so that calls are distributed automatically and promptly. Encourage your employees to be more productive and professional with a strong and reliable phone tree!