Contact Center Managers: 5 Ways IVR Can Help You Manage Complaints

If a customer wants to complain about your products or services, he or she is unlikely to have much patience. As such, if it takes too long to connect complainants with a contact center agent, it's likely that you will find it harder to appease the disgruntled customer. Nonetheless, while you may think it's a good idea to allow a customer to dial straight through to an agent, call routing (through different IVR options) can actually sometimes make the process easier. Learn how IVR can help you deal with complaints more effectively with the five following situations.

To make it easier to get updates on existing complaints

It isn't always easy to resolve complaints on the first contact. In many cases, your agents will need to investigate the customer's issue, and the complainant may need to call back separately with more information. When this situation occurs, it's often a good idea to give existing complainants a way to avoid having to go through the same process as a new caller.

An IVR option is a simple way to allow customers with new or existing complaints to speak to different teams. When connecting somebody to an agent to discuss an existing complaint, make sure your employees have access to the customer's records and can speak to the customer in a way that shows them they won't need to repeat every detail.

Some IVR systems will also allow customers to enter a specific extension number when they call back that connects them to the same person they originally spoke to. This can often take some of the stress away from the situation, as customers generally want the same person to fix their problem from start to finish. Check if your phone system allows you to offer this service.

To separate complaints from general questions

Contact center agents who handle complaints need different skills compared to team members who deal with general enquiries. Instead of trying to train everyone to the same standard, it's normally more effective to route callers with complaints to a dedicated team. The easiest way to do this is with a simple IVR system, where the customer tells you that they want to discuss a complaint. 

To divert different types of complaint

In larger organizations, it's sometimes necessary to separate different types of complaint. For example, you may decide that one team deals with complaints about one type of product, while another specialist team focuses on complaints that relate to another service or product.

You should adopt this approach sparingly. Customers may not always want to complain about one thing, and, if it feels as though the IVR system is complex, you will probably cause more agitation. Nonetheless, where you have a clear distinction between products, this type of routing can sometimes speed up call handling times.

To make the most of specialist complaint handlers

According to the customers you look after, some complaints may need specialized skills. For example, if many of your customers have hearing impairments, they could benefit from specially trained agents.  Similarly, if you have customers who speak different languages, it's a good idea to route their complaints directly to somebody who can more easily communicate with them.

To take the caller's place during periods of high demand

Customers hate sitting in lengthy queues, particularly if they already have a complaint. Many companies will give a complaint a higher priority in the queue, but, during busy periods, waiting times can still become problematic.

In these cases, it's a good idea to offer an automated call back service. Here, through a dedicated option on the line, the customer elects to allow the system to hold their place in the queue. The phone system will then call the customer back when an agent becomes available, without the complainant waiting on the line.

These 'queue busting' systems can work well, but you should aim to offer this solution as a last resort. If you regularly need to offer this service, you should consult your workforce management team to find out how better scheduling can avoid the problem.

When customers want to complain, an IVR system may seem like an unwanted complication, but there are situations when you can use these tools to speed up complaint resolution. Carefully consider how an IVR system could help your customers, and talk to your service provider to make sure you take advantage of the facilities available through your phone system. For more information about voice mail service systems, try visiting a site like