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What Goes Around Comes Around – IVR / Phone Payments Resurging

Posted February 18, 2013 by John Schott

IVR Phone PaymentOver the past decade, interactive voice response (IVR) use has declined as an alternative payment method for utility customers, having been replaced by on-line payment options.

However, as with many things in life, what goes around comes around. IVR phone payments for utility bills are on the rise again. Much of this growth can be attributed to the proliferation of mobile phones. IVR payments have increased steadily in the past three years. Over 180 utilities use our IVR, and we have seen a steady increase in usage since 2009, rising from 5.2% to 7.3% of total payments.

The increase is not surprising. Today, it is the rare person that does not have a mobile phone. And until mobile payment options are more fully embraced by customers, IVR will continue to be vital to a utility’s billing and payment strategies. One phone call is all that’s needed, making it convenient to users on the go as well as those who want, or need, to make a quick payment after hours or without having to speak with a live person.

Approximately 70% of all customer service calls are inquiries related to billing and payment issues including obtaining account balance, finding out due dates, or simply paying a bill right then and there. As a result, customers want to call and execute transactions as quickly and easily as possible. Therefore, IVR call flows should be super easy-to-use, allowing customers to hear their balance and make a payment in under three minutes. Done right, IVR will handle more than 30% of all call traffic to your customer service desk, and free up time for your staff to handle more complex customer issues.


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