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How to Optimize Your IVR Payment System for Customer Experience & Efficiency

IVR Payments are a secure financial software solution that allows your customers to autonomously complete payment transactions over the phone. It often surprises people to learn that it is the financial data security infrastructure, as well as maintaining and auditing ongoing PCI compliance, that constitutes the most significant cost elements in an IVR Payments system or on any payment application for that matter!

But it’s not security that I want to talk about today, rather I would like to focus instead on optimizing the customer’s IVR Payments experience. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology was first introduced during the 1970’s and over time its deployment by businesses and organizations both large and small has become increasingly common.

The reasons for this are not hard to understand, given that IVR technology offers advantages to both businesses and their customers alike. For businesses, these include the ability to service higher customer call volumes at lower costs, extend customer service outside of normal business hours, enabling their customers to complete simple self-service requests by phone and staying current with respect to PCI Compliance. For customers, IVR Payment technology offers 24/7 convenience and the assurance that their sensitive information is being transmitted safely and securely.

Despite these conveniences however, some customers have mixed feelings about IVR technology. This perception is typically the result of experiences with poorly designed IVR deployments that funnel callers through a maze of endless prompts and long messaging that feels unresponsive and difficult to use. Therefore, your goal should be to make sure that your IVR Payment solution is designed so as to ensure a user-friendly experience.

With over 27 years’ of experience building IVR Payment systems, Datatel understands what goes into having an customer centric IVR Payment design and implementation strategy. Here are some key design considerations to look for in a successful IVR Payments solution:

  • Relevance- Everything that happens during the call flow experience should feel relevant to the caller’s goal of making a payment. Minimize any playback of non-payment related information to only what information that will help the customer move quicker through the process and is needed for a caller to feel comfortable. If your business can support it, consider integrating your business systems with the IVR Payment solution to personalize the caller’s payment experience.
  • Efficiency- Callers should be able to proceed quickly to their objective with a minimum of delay. All messaging should be short and to the point. Provide instructions that help the caller quickly locate the information they will require to complete the transaction. Minimize the collection of information from callers to only what data is needed from them to complete a successful transaction.
  • Choices- People generally dislike feeling restricted by automation in their available choices. However, offering too many choices can make paying overly complex and inefficient. Only offer callers options that can enhance their payment experience or reduce their questions. For example, consider offering callers the option of transferring to a live person if they are having trouble with a transaction, requesting a copy of their payment receipt in real-time, and receiving customer-account specific balance information, among other choices. However, limit distractions and focus on the goal of helping the caller complete the transaction.
  • Avoid Speech Recognition- Speech recognition functionality often struggles with understanding many callers which is not only frustrating for the callers but also increases input errors. It’s not surprising to learn that most callers actually prefer entering their information by phone keypad instead of speaking it to the system.
  • Humanize the Experience- Professionally pre-recorded prompts and instructions have a noticeably more natural inflection and tone than do prompts generated by text-to-speech engines. In addition to humanizing an automated process, using professionally produced voice recordings ensures that your brand will be represented professionally and consistently.

Consumer’s expectations also vary across industries. When shopping for an IVR Payments solution, an experienced and knowledgeable solution provider should also be able to offer you guidance on what IVR payment practices and functionality are common within your industry and help you to tailor your application for an optimal and efficient user experience that will increase customer adoption of your new IVR Payment channel.

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