Time was when the IVR was considered a perfect wall to keep pesky customers at bay. They would dial and then scurry around in the IVR maze, hopefully getting nowhere and giving it up while customer service representative presumably handled more important things not realizing that the company was losing customers. For large enterprises it seemingly does not matter but for small businesses it does matter when one single customer goes away. You do need an IVR but you need one that enhances rather than diminishes the customer experience. Take a look at this crop of top IVR solutions for small business in 2021.
You do need IVR even if you run a small business
The perception that IVR solution is only for big business is misconceived. Today, customers may call at any time and expect prompt response and given that many people now work extended hours they are likely to call when you have shut shop. Switching off your phone may be a good idea or not but if you have an IVR you can divert incoming calls to the IVR and have a breather. The IVR captures leads for follow up and assures customer satisfaction. These days, IVR phone systems have become smarter and you can dynamically configure and reconfigure systems and the tree-branch response structure according to feedback. You can shift the burden of answering routine inquiries to the IVR, let it capture leads and focus on more important tasks even as you record interactions in the CRM.
Forrester research finds that 77% customers like 24×7 availability of IVR. The Aberdeen Group finds that 62% of top companies use IVR solutions and 77% business owners find that using IVR saves valuable time according to another Forrester research study. Customer churn reduces by 67%. Given these figures you do need the IVR and can take your pick from any of these.
1. Twilio IVR solution
Twilio IVR solution is right up there with the best in terms of features, affordability and dynamic configurability. If you have an existing IP PBX then it is easy to integrate Twilio IVR through APIs. Its outstanding features include natural language processing and speech recognition. Even better, you have conversational AI bots that can carry on conversations with callers up to a point and then route calls to a suitable person. You can even use it for outbound sales campaigns and send out SMS surveys. You can integrate it into your CRM. Twilio also allows PCI compliant IVR payment system. The solution is modular and flexible.
2. Servetel IVR
Many providers bundle in IVR as part of contact center solution which you, as a small business owner, may not need. If a standalone IVR phone system is what you need then consider Servetel IVR solution. The good news is that it is available as a hosted software as a service which works on Windows and on mobile phones giving you mobility and flexibility. You can use it for inbound calls and configure it to give you a ring on your desktop phone or mobile should a caller choose that option. You can set it up for outbound campaigns too and develop multiple scripts.
Channels is another IVR focused system with a host of features ideal for small business. You can integrate it into websites for one-click call and you can make it part of your online ecommerce platform besides being able to use it on mobiles. The IVR phone system permits live-listening and call recording. You have voice recognition, campaign management and collaboration tools built into this platform. You have option of choosing only the IVR solution or the entire call center software. One reason why we include Channels is that it has a free version.
Routee is web based IVR solution that lets you generate new leads, cross sell and up sell to existing customers and carry out verification. Since it is cloud based you can use it from anywhere and do not have to pay anything upfront. For a small monthly subscription you get 2 way messaging, analytics, auto responders, campaign segmentation and CAN SPAM compliance too. The extended list of features includes social marketing, text to speech, mobile alerts and MMS to state only a few.
Phonexa could be what you are looking for. One good thing about it is that it is customizable and tracks calls from the source and routes it through an automatic call distributor. You can even set parameters to filter calls. You can set it up for customer self service and you can set it up for more advanced outbound campaigns and for inbound service options and leads. You can record messages and link it with contact list for the IVR to send out calls. The IVR solution also offers options on IVR payments and selective information lookup.
We picked IVR solutions at random based on features and usability, not price and with the small business in mind.