Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Getting to Know Your Customers: How IVR Helps Make Surveys Fast and Effective

June 03, 2019

How much do you know about your customers, their experiences, and their needs?  The fact is, the more you know, the more you are able to adapt your entire business – from product to customer service – to more effectively meet their needs and desires.  Are they happy with the products or services you have delivered?  Do they have additional needs you may be able to meet?  What are the pain points driving their purchasing decisions?  Are they happy with their experience with your brand?  All these data points and countless others provide valuable insight into how your business is performing and how you can make meaningful strategic adjustments.

The question is, how can you get this information?  There are many mechanisms for surveying your customers, including phone, email, online, and even old fashioned paper.  But, advances in technology have made IVR surveys perhaps the best customer survey method.  IVR surveys allow customers to interact with your survey using either their phone keypad but, more frequently today, voice recognition technology, and offer a number of benefits to businesses over other methods, including prior generations of IVR.


Thanks to automation, IVR campaigns don’t require using live agents for placing calls and conducting surveys.  That means not only is the dialing and feedback collection faster and easier, agents can remain focused on handling live customer service needs that require attention.  But, because they are live engagements on the customer side, responses come immediately, as opposed to having to wait for responses to come in via email, web portals, or traditional mail.  IVR surveys can also be designed with automatic callbacks if customers don’t answer initially – or if they would like to provide feedback but the timing is not convenient – increasing the response rate and volume of collected data.  With alternative feedback mechanisms, customers often wait for a convenient time, which can mean they never actually get around to completing your surveys.  IVR surveys also are much more cost effective than using live agents.


At one time, IVR surveys were burdensome to develop, requiring extensive programming experience.  Today’s IVR platforms, however, provide intuitive interfaces that allow businesses to easily design IVR surveys that can be launched quickly and enable them to solicit feedback from customers immediately.

Flexibility and Personalization

The ease with which IVR surveys can be designed and deployed makes it possible for businesses to create customized campaigns based on purchases and specific online, in-store, or customer service experiences.  Systems can be automated based on specific triggers – in-store purchases, calls to contact centers, online activity, effectively any activity that can be tracked – to ensure surveys are initiated while the context is still fresh in customers’ minds.  While general customer surveys can provide a broader set of feedback, customers are often more likely to respond to contextual surveys based on recent experiences.  In addition, IVR surveys can be designed in multiple languages to accommodate diverse customer bases without the need for increased staffing.

Speech recognition & analytics

Speech recognition engines allow companies to design fluid IVR surveys that adapt questions based on customer responses.  In addition, powerful speech analytics capabilities can allow customers’ responses to be analyzed in real time, searching for specific language that indicate specific sentiment, such as extreme displeasure or continued problems that have not been resolved satisfactorily.  Of course, there can be positive triggers as well that indicate employees have gone above and beyond their normal requirements to satisfy customers, warranting recognition.  These instances can be set to trigger specific actions from the company, including follow-up from a live agent, supervisor, or manager, or even offering the opportunity to be immediately transferred to a live call.  Similarly, customers can be directed to specific resources or products they may be interested in based on their responses.

The opportunities that exist to collect feedback from customers is nearly limitless with today’s IVR systems.  Ultimately, though, success rests in the development of a useful survey that targets customers appropriately, and then integrates data into databases that can be analyzed for trends, as well as into customer records to provide more complete customer profiles.  But, the flexibility, ease of deployment, cost, and personalization features in IVR surveys make them an ideal way to get to know your customers better.

Edited by Erik Linask