Benefits of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Technology

Municipalities nationwide are embracing digital technologies to offer online services to their residents and local businesses. Combining cloud-based offerings like Mitchell Humphrey & Co.’s FastTrackGov® (FTG) with interactive voice response technology is making it even easier for municipality employees to interact with their stakeholders. Read on to learn more about the wide range of benefits for your community.

How Interactive Voice Response Technology Works

Even if you have never come across the term interactive voice technology (IVR), you have most certainly used it. Traditional IVR systems have been a stalwart in the customer service industry for decades.

Just remember the last time you called your bank – chances are that your call was answered by an automated phone system asking you to press buttons or say specific words to navigate and choose from the different options.

Admittedly, these early IVR systems had their limitations. Some struggled to understand. Others kept callers in a frustrating loop while they were trying to find the most suitable option to address their problem. As a result, the systems may have saved time but also led to frustrations.

Why Modern IVR is Different

Modern IVR is also known as conversational IVR. Rather than asking customers to say specific words or choose an option on their phone’s keypad, it listens. Users can speak normally as if they were talking to a bank employee. Put simply, conversational IVR interacts with your stakeholders through natural language conversations, creating a much more welcoming atmosphere in the process.

Rather than navigating – and perhaps getting lost in – various menu options, anyone calling your municipality simply describes their concern like they would to a human receptionist. The system then directs the call to the respective department.

Two of the main differences are that IVR can deal with several inquiries at the same time and is not restricted to traditional office hours. Your community can access the information they need when they need it.

How Your Community Can Benefit from IVR

Introducing IVR in your municipality will benefit employees, residents, and businesses. In fact, by growing your reputation as a business-friendly, accessible community, you may attract more businesses and development to your area.

Here is a closer look at some of the immediate benefits of adding IVR to your existing technology stack.

1. Shortening Cues

Whether in person or on a helpline, no one likes to wait to be served or even articulate their concern. That is where some of the traditional IVR systems simply did not work well.

Conversational IVR quickly recognizes why someone called and directs them faster to the more appropriate respondent. As a result, residents and businesses contacting their municipality save time.

The same benefit applies to your team of municipality employees. Despite the best efforts of traditional IVR, it was not uncommon for callers to be directed incorrectly. Employees then had to pass them on to the correct person.

2. Checking Permit or Licensing Application Status

As licensing and permitting processes are increasingly moving online, integrating IVR into the process is the logical next step for municipalities.

Thanks to the customized community development software FastTrackGov® (FTG) and well-managed and continuously supported transitions, our municipality clients have seen employee productivity increase across departments. The rise in productivity is based on working smarter rather than harder and moving large parts of licensing and permitting processes online.

Integrating IVR technology is another step toward greater efficiency in the licensing and permitting process. This technology allows applicants to check the status of their application with one or two simple questions. There is no need to visit municipality offices during limited office hours. This time could be devoted to other parts of the same project.

3. Cost Savings

Municipalities across the country face budget cuts and high levels of scrutiny when it comes to how they manage tax dollars and other funds.

Implementing digital solutions like FTG and IVR will help your community save money. Granted, your leadership team needs to agree to an initial investment. However, once that has been completed, ongoing costs are lower than maintaining equivalent levels of staffing.

Thanks to sophisticated programming, residents, business owners, and other stakeholders are also more likely to get their answers faster than they would have otherwise. As a result, your municipality is delivering a better service to everyone in the community.

4. Increased Levels of Convenience

As humans, we are programmed to look for easy solutions and find the most convenient ways of problem-solving.

When it comes to looking for information from their municipality, residents have traditionally been restricted to office hours and phone calls or in-person appointments. Online services are already changing the way municipalities, residents, and businesses interact by making large amounts of data accessible with a few clicks.

IVR takes this approach one step further by allowing users to find answers simply by asking a question. Thanks to sophisticated interactive voice response applications, businesses and residents can save time they would have needed to search for updates and other information.

5. Improved Data Collection and Safety

Modern municipalities depend on data just like private sector companies do. While the private sector may be looking to offer highly customized commercial products, government bodies are more likely to consider which services their communities need the most.

IVR makes identifying these services easier. By filtering the most frequent queries from business owners and residents, municipality leaders gain a clear understanding of what is needed most and which service offerings need to be improved. They can also spot potential problem areas early and develop solutions before small problems grow into big issues.

Sophisticated software systems keep sensitive information securely in the cloud, and access becomes permission-based. Consequently, the risk of information being shared accidentally and sensitive data becoming compromised is greatly reduced.

How to Start Using IVR

How hard is it to start offering IVR in your municipality? Transitioning to IVR does not need to be hard at all. If your local government is already taking advantage of community online services through our FTG software, IVR can quickly be integrated.

To offer a streamlined, comprehensive solution, we have teamed up with Selectron Technologies, Inc., an industry leader in interactive technologies. The Selectron team has three decades of experience in working with public sector organizations.

In short, together we not only speak your language, but we can also offer a solution that meets your needs. We fully understand that while municipalities may offer similar services, each locality is different.

Level Up Your Digital Transformation

No matter whether you choose to transform the way your team works step-by-step or are ready for one big transition, we can help. Contact us to schedule a demo or simply to find out more information about how FTG and IVR can change the way your community runs.