Six Reasons to Take Another Look at IVR

Customer using mobile banking app on phone

Rob Crutchington at Encoded, discusses the rise of self-service payments and why it is time to take another look at Interactive Voice Response (IVR) in contact centres to help increase the number of successful transactions, boost agent performance and improve the customer experience (CX).

Cash is no longer King. Today’s consumers expect customer service to be faster and more efficient and contactless payment methods have become the norm. According to UK Finance, cash use has been declining by around 15% each year since 2017, with 2020 representing an acceleration of this decline. The pandemic resulted in cash use falling by 35% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

IVR has become an essential payment choice

With this increase in card payments, and more transactions being conducted either online or over the phone, self-service payments have become an essential option for contact centres and remote sales operations.

There is no doubt that IVR phone systems can be a game-changer for business. As a self-service option, they can provide 24/7 support for common problems. IVR can help customers resolve issues without needing to be transferred between departments.  IVR can also identify and prioritise callers, based on their customer status, at the beginning of a call improving the overall service.

According to the Call Centre Helper Research Paper (2021), “What Contact Centres are doing right now”, Self-Service is described as the Golden Goose of Customer Experience. The report states that “well over a third of customer service respondents (36.2%) believe that advancing self-service capabilities within the customer experience will likely achieve the biggest return on investment (ROI)”.

IVR payment systems can also complement other payment solutions.  Online, PayByLink and Agent Assisted Payments all now present a choice of secure payment solutions to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. Integrating payment solutions with enterprise systems, such as CRM and accounting processes, enables agents to deliver connected customer service. The resulting faster transactions help to improve cashflow.

Six reasons to take another look at IVR

1. Make the most of agent time, improving staff morale

IVR can help to free agents from boring and repetitive work, reduce staff attrition and improve staff morale. Automated systems allow agents to spend time providing more complex value-added services, ensuring better use of their skills and improving the customer experience (CX).

2. Enhance customer payment and data security

Typically, IVR payments are far more secure than traditional manual handling of customer card data. Choosing a cloud IVR solution from a Level 1, PCI DSS approved provider means that confidential client data is stored securely. It takes payments out of scope to meet PCI DSS requirements and can be used to achieve SAQ A.

3. Improved customer experience

Capturing customer data via an IVR system means the latest information can be directed and, if required, displayed to agents with the most relevant knowledge and expertise. Queries are resolved faster with greater customer satisfaction, helping to maintain the best possible ratings for those all-important customer feedback surveys.

4. Increased productivity

IVR means your customer service is available 24x7x365, without any agent involvement. This means customers can self-serve and make payments at any time and from anywhere, convenient to them.

5. Joined-up customer service and centralised payments

With the increase in the number of people working from home and MOTO (mail order/telephone order transactions), IVR payments work for both customers and remote-workers.  With integrated systems, organisations can streamline their critical payment processes and centralise their IVR payments regardless of where agents are located.

6. IVR can deliver significant cost savings

IVR payments are perfect for companies that experience seasonal spikes in calls, which would normally involve hiring extra temporary staff or paying costly overtime. Self-service costs five times less than a telephone call – with the right design and technology therefore, IVR can deliver significant savings. Research from ContactBabel cites that the cost of a live service telephone call varies considerably, but has a mean average of £5.42, while historically, the average cost of a telephony self-service session is estimated to be around 30-70p.

About the Author

Rob Crutchington is Managing Director at Encoded.

Rob Crutchington MD EncodedEncoded is an independent Payment Services Provider and Payment Gateway specialising in secure payment solutions for contact centres.  Encoded offers a range of card payment solutions designed to help organisations comply with PCI DSS, GDPR and the newly introduced Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Encoded’s solutions are trusted by many of the world’s leading brands including Samsung, Mercedes-Benz and BMW,as well as a host of UK utility companies such as Green Star Energy and Severn Trent Water.  Solutions include:  Agent Assisted Card Payments, E-Commerce Payments, IVR Payments, Mobile Apps, PayByLink Mobile Payments and Encoded Gateway Services.  For further information please visit

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