The Ultimate Guide to IVR Payments for 2020

Learn what is IVR and how it does it work
Learn what are the key features of IVR
Learn what are the benefits of IVR

The Ultimate Guide to IVR Payments for 2020

Learn what is IVR and how it does it work
Learn what are the key features of IVR
Learn what are the benefits of IVR

Welcome to our Ultimate Guide to IVR Payments for 2020

In our guide below you’ll learn what is IVR, payment solutions, key features, case studies and benefits.

Table of Contents

Click on any chapter below to scroll directly to it.

Chapter 2. What is IVR and how it does it work?

  • What is IVR?
  • What is IVR authentication?
  • What are the best IVR payment solutions?
  • What are the costs of IVR payments?
  • What is needed for IVR payments?
  • What about integration with other systems?
  • How secure are IVR payments?

Chapter 3. What are the key features of IVR?

  • Automation
  • Security
  • Round-the-clock business operations
  • Seamless integration

Chapter 4. What are the benefits of IVR?

  • Makes the most of agent time, maximise resources
  • Enhances customer payment and data security
  • Improves your customer experience
  • Increases your productivity
  • Enables a joined-up customer service

Chapter 5. A checklist for choosing an IVR payment system

  • Q. Does it provide secure customer authentication?
  • Q. Is it flexible to manage fluctuations in demand?
  • Q. Does it integrate with your existing systems?
  • Finally – measuring the right metrics

Chapter 6. Case studies

  • Exact Mortgage Experts
  • Virgin Holidays
  • First Port Property Services
  • Anglian Water
  • Appreciate Group

Chapter 1. Introduction

As a result of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic there was a rush for contactless payment methods as never before. The maximum amount for contactless payment was increased by 50% with many shops not accepting cash. According to financial services and information management consultancy Futurist Group, about 38% of consumers now see contactless as a ‘basic need’ feature of payments, up from 30% a year ago. On the other hand, the percentage of consumers saying they don’t need contactless payments has fallen from 41% in March 2019 to 33% in March 2020. With this increase in more card payments, and more transactions being conducted either online or over the phone, the demand for IVR has also increased in contact centres and remote sales operations.

There are plenty of IVR payment services on the market, which makes it tricky to choose the best one for your business. In this article we outline what IVR is, how it works and what to look out for to suit your business.

With the right solution aligned to your organisation’s business systems, you can give your customers a smooth transaction process and great customer experience.

Chapter 2. What is IVR and how it does it work?

What is IVR?

Interactive Voice Response Payments (IVR Payments) is a payment method that allows callers to enter their card data via touch tones. It enables customer self-service to:

  • make 24/7 payments without any agent involvement
  • provide a secure ID to find information
  • make payments from anywhere at any time using a telephone.

    What is IVR authentication?

    It is important to identify a customer using IVR payments and the first place to start is a telephone number. Using a customer’s telephone number for IVR payments authentication is a speedy method of Identification & Verification (ID&V) and improves the customer experience.

    The second method of authentication is a customer ID number (i.e. invoice or customer reference), entered using touch tones on the telephone into the IVR payments system prior to taking their payment.

    What are the best IVR payment solutions?

    The best IVR payment solution aligns with your business systems to give customers a smooth transaction process. IVR payments can be integrated with voice systems so an agent can transfer the customer to the IVR payment once an order has been taken. This allows agents to deal with more customers, spend less time on taking payments and adds value to the customer experience.

    What are the costs of IVR payments?

    IVR payments are perfect for companies which experience seasonal spikes in calls, which would normally involve hiring extra temporary staff or paying costly overtime.

    IVR costs five times less than a telephone call – with the right design and technology IVR can produce significant savings. Research from ContactBabel revealed that the average cost of a telephony IVR self-service session is 65p, compared to the cost of a live service telephone call where the mean average was £3.55.

    Some IVR solution providers only charge for successfully processed transactions, which keeps prices transparent. It rewards both the third-party provider and its customers on success, keeping an active working relationship focused on service improvements.

    What is needed for IVR payments?

    Most business telephone systems can route calls to IVR payments using recorded voice prompts and avoiding connection with a live agent. Integration with your other business systems means that IVR payments can be configured to reconcile automatically with accounting and other systems.

    What about integration with other systems?

    IVR payment integration is made possible with a payment gateway which integrates with most providers, carriers, telephony systems and CRM systems to provide total flexibility for secure omnichannel payments. Integration with other critical systems ensures agents can access the latest information for a joined-up customer experience.

    How secure are IVR payments?

    IVR payments are far more secure than other traditional methods, which sometimes may include agents noting down credit or debit card details manually. Choosing a cloud IVR service payment solution ensures everything is fully automated and confidential – client data is stored within a secure cloud infrastructure.

    Using IVR to accept payments from a trusted third party provider is also an easy way to achieve PCI DSS.

    Chapter 3. What are the key features of IVR?

    Automation

    An IVR solution automates many time-consuming processes, freeing up agents to give them more time to spend up-selling and cross-selling, or managing complex customer care and loyalty work, which means better use of critical talent and resources.

    Security

    IVR card payments are far more secure than the traditional method of agents noting down credit or debit card payment details manually. Plus, with a PCI DSS approved cloud-based system, confidential client data is stored centrally and securely.

    Round-the-clock business operations

    With IVR systems can be available 24x7x365 without any agent involvement. Customers can serve themselves using IVR to find the information they need and process payments at any time and from anywhere.

    Seamless integration

    Integrating your IVR systems with accounting and other critical business systems ensures agents always have the latest information to deliver a joined-up customer experience.

    Chapter 4. What are the benefits of IVR?

    Makes the most of agent time, maximise resources

    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 value added services, ensuring better use of their skills, while all the time improving the customer experience (CX).

    “We have saved around 46 agent hours every month based on our current call volumes, an improvement that has vastly boosted our productivity.”
    Fliss Dale, Director of Collections and Recovery at Exact

    Enhances customer payment and data security

    Typically IVR card payments are far more secure than the traditional manual handling of customer data. Choosing a cloud IVR solution from a PCI DSS approved provider means that confidential client data is stored securely, taking IVR payments out of scope for PCI DSS requirements.

    “At Virgin Holidays, we take client confidentially very seriously and customers can trust us to keep their data safe when paying for tickets, weekend breaks or all-inclusive holidays, online or over the phone. That is why we invested in the latest Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payment solutions from Encoded to give our team and our customers complete peace of mind.”
    Jessica Baker, Operations Analyst, Virgin Holidays

    Improves your customer experience

    Capturing customer data means the latest information can be directed and displayed to agents with the best 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.

    “Dramatic improvements in efficiency and call flow have boosted agent morale and tangibly enhanced the overall customer experience”
    Matthew Cook, Head of Customer Support, Bespoke and Property Services, First Port

    Increases your productivity

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

    “Using Encoded’s innovative technology means we are now open 24 hours a day, giving consumers the round-the-clock service they need to fit in with their busy lifestyles. They can make payments anytime, from anywhere quickly and securely. Last year, over 12,000 IVR payment calls were handled successfully, proof that the service is gaining rapid popularity with our customers.”
    Julie Hall, Billing and Income Manager, Anglian Water

    Enables a joined-up customer service

    With your IVR solution connect to your finance and other critical business systems, your agents always have the latest information to deliver a joined-up customer experience.

    “As a very seasonal business, our call volumes fluctuate wildly especially during peak times like Christmas when our calls can rise dramatically from approximately 1,000 to 5,000 per day. Encoded helps to deliver the high level of personal attention our agents deserve by taking care of straightforward payment calls and balance enquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
    June Potts, Head of Customer Contact, Appreciate Group plc

    Key benefits of choosing IVR from a trusted third-party provider

    R

    Reduced cost in comparison to agents taking payments

    R

    Level 1 PCI DSS accreditation (with approved PCI DSS provider)

    R

    Can provide seamless integration with existing business working methods

    R

    The option to have comprehensive reporting including user behaviour analysis

    R

    Full system redundancy backup with a 99.99% uptime SLA

    Chapter 5. A checklist for choosing an IVR payment system

    Q. Does it provide secure customer authentication?

    • Customers expect a speedy check-out service without their card details falling into the wrong hands. The latest IVR payment solutions allow contact centre users to enter their debit or credit card data via touch tones any time of day or night, quickly and securely.
    • When looking for new technology, rather than choose a vanilla software vendor which may sell you a solution and leave you to it, consider a partner that will work with you throughout the compliance process. Look for a vendor happy to advise and educate while offering solutions that will help your contact centre to comply with the latest PCI DSS or GDPR legislation and the newly introduced Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
    • Choose an IVR payment solution that can authenticate callers prior to taking payments either via a unique number like an invoice or customer reference. Then, shortlist those that integrate easily with in-house telephony, accounting and CRM systems. This means agents can deal with more customers and spend less time on taking payments. While customers feel secure in the knowledge that their card details are protected.

    Q. Is it flexible to manage fluctuations in demand?

    • An automated method of payment is perfect for companies which experience seasonal spikes in calls, normally requiring temporary staff of costly overtime. How a provider charges for successfully processed transactions is also important in your selection.
    • There are also new advances in IVR, which include text-to-speech options for multiple languages. The choices mean that modern IVR solutions give customers the opportunity to choose between self-service and talking to a live agent. Either way, you can reduce your costs and enhance customer service.

    Q. Does it integrate with your existing systems?

    • IVR payments have grown in popularity and importance as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the number of people working from home and MOTO (mail order/telephone order payments).
    • They can work for both customers and remote-workers as they are accessible from anywhere whether in the office, at home, across time-zones, providers, carriers and telephony systems. Using one single solution, organisations can streamline their critical payment processes by centralising their IVR payments across multiple contact centres and link to multiple CRM systems to enhance customer service.

    Finally - measuring the right metrics

    Many contact centres attempt to deflect calls away from live agents to self-service systems such as IVR and interactive web applications but at what cost? It is important to measure how customers react to self-service and the impact on customer satisfaction.

    Measuring the right metrics allows adjustments and changes to be made if the required results are not being achieved:

    Successful transactions: for example, the number of customers who begin and complete a self-service transaction without live-agent assistance. When designed well, IVR self-service payments can result in up to 90% of relevant calls being dealt with automatically representing a massive cost saving, an improvement in customer service and a boost for the company’s reputation with its customer.

    IVR abandonment rates: usually the most common metric, this reflects the number of customers that that drop out, prior to choosing an option in the IVR system. This number should be very low because customers tend to have the patience to navigate the system in the first instance before giving up. Typically customers do not drop out but instead transfer or “zero-out” to a live agent.

    Transfer or Zero-Out rates: this is where a customer will “select zero to speak to an agent”. According to ContactBabel research carried out in 2015, the mean zero-out rate is 18%, however, with the correct set-up of IVR payment systems can reduce this number.

    It’s vital to measure and report on the right metrics. Here’s a few questions to consider:

    • What are the right key performance indicators (KPI’s)?
    • What has your previous experience been?
    • How can IVR payments help with PCI DSS* compliance?
    Ivr Diagram

    Chapter 6. Case studies

    Exact Mortgage Experts

    Exact Mortgage Experts

    Exact Mortgage Experts (Exact) was established in 2008 with the aim of providing a one stop solution for Asset Traders, while providing Mortgage Servicing and Asset Management for Banks and Building Societies.

    Exact’s contact centre is open from 8am until 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am until 12 noon every Saturday. Every caller has the option to make a payment by speaking directly to an agent or via the new self-service automated payment solution from Encoded. Deployed in March 2013, the Encoded IVR system has become immensely popular.

    The percentage of payments taken using Encoded has risen from 12% to 50% in the first six months alone. This represents half the total number of calls coming into the contact centre. Prior to Encoded, it took agents on average five minutes to answer a call, take the borrower through security, calculate and then process the payment. The number of agent hours saved has been significant.

    Fliss Dale Director of Collections and Recovery at Exact, explained, “The implementation of Encoded has been a fantastic success. Our borrowers can make payments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at their convenience, dramatically enhancing the overall customer experience. What is more, we have saved around 46 agent hours every month based on our current call volumes, an improvement that has vastly boosted our productivity.”

    Virgin Holidays New

    Virgin Holidays

    Virgin Holidays, is the UK’s market leading long-haul holiday company specialising in holidays to the USA, Caribbean, Africa, the Middle and Far East, the Indian Ocean and Australasia.

    Virgin Holiday’s busy Customer Service Department operates seven days a week. The team’s customer service representatives handle a wide variety of enquiries ranging from adding excursions to a booking, making a payment to requesting an invoice.

    Encoded designed and implemented a totally new customer payment solution capable of handling large call volumes and enabling Virgin Holidays customers to self service their payment requirements at any time from any place. Encoded built a brand new framework that could automatically process customer payments and reconcile important client data in real-time.

    According to Jessica Baker, Operations Analyst at Virgin Holidays, “As call volumes increased to the Virgin Service Centre we had to find new and smarter ways to handle payment transactions swiftly and securely. At Virgin Holidays, we take client confidentially very seriously and customers can trust us to keep their data safe when paying for tickets, weekend breaks or all-inclusive holidays, online or over the phone. That is why we invested in the latest Interactive Voice Response (IVR) payment solutions from Encoded to give our team and our customers complete peace of mind.”

    FirstPort – Property Management

    First Port Property Services

    First Port, the UK’s premier property management company, is using interactive voice response (IVR) technology from Encoded to offer customers a round-the clock automated payment option when paying service charges, ground rents and other items, such as a new key or security fob for communal entry doors.

    More than 50 per cent of the 115 strong customer service team work in the contact centre handling calls from customers reporting maintenance or repair issues and requesting parking permits, to paying for service charges or new keys. Customers can make self-service payments 24 hours per day, 7 days a week and obtain accurate, up-to-date information about the balance of their account. Today, 20% of all payments are handled by Encoded’s IVR automated system.

    Matthew Cook, Head of Customer Support, Bespoke and Property Services, First Port, commented, “We introduced the IVR solution from Encoded a number of years ago and cannot praise the system highly enough. Dramatic improvements in efficiency and call flow have boosted agent morale and tangibly enhanced the overall customer experience. What is more, Encoded is a valuable tool that has helped us streamline our business processes and maximise our existing resources at no extra cost. It’s a win, win situation.”

    Anglian Water Logo 2

    Anglian Water

    One of the top water companies in the UK, Anglian Water serves 100,000 residents as well as businesses and industrial plants throughout the North East of England. It is regulated by Ofwat and its long-term strategy, ‘Love Every Drop’ is designed to find better, more sustainable ways of delivering and using water services. Since 2007, Anglian Water has relied on Encoded IVR technology to automate the growing number of credit and debit card payments and maximise its resources.

    The solution has enabled the organisation to release significant time savings that allow customer service agents to engage closely with consumers and deliver a highly personalised service. Today, Anglian Water uses Encoded to handle around 40,000 calls and 12,000 automated payments every year.

    Julie Hall Billing and Income Manager said, “Using Encoded’s innovative technology means we are now open 24 hours a day, giving consumers the round-the-clock service they need to fit in with their busy lifestyles. They can make payments anytime, from anywhere quickly and securely. Last year, over 12,000 IVR payment calls were handled successfully, proof that the service is gaining rapid popularity with our customers.”

    Appreciategroup Logo

    Appreciate Group

    Appreciate Group plc is one of the country’s largest multi-retailer voucher and prepaid gift card businesses, focused on the corporate gift and Christmas savings markets. It operates through an extensive network of agents and increasingly, online.

    The Park Christmas Savings Club is the leading Christmas savings organisation in the UK and Ireland, helping thousands of families budget for the festive season. Managing fluctuating call volumes in the run up to Christmas Appreciate Group implemented an interactive voice response (IVR) and automated payment solution from Encoded which is linked to the busy call centre operation managing the Christmas savings part of the business. The call centre is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    According to June Potts, Head of Customer Contact at Appreciate Group, “As a very seasonal business, our call volumes fluctuate wildly especially during peak times like Christmas when our calls can rise dramatically from approximately 1,000 to 5,000 per day. Encoded helps to deliver the high level of personal attention our agents deserve by taking care of straightforward payment calls and balance enquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

    Chapter 7. Summary

    There are many benefits of IVR payments. Implemented well, IVR solutions can help businesses deal with high call volumes, reduce cost and improve customer service.

    Using an automated secure payment system in your contact centre.helps you to achieve more by paying less. Accepting credit and debit cards via IVR is a cost effective and secure way of taking payments. It allows customers to make payments quickly and accurately while reducing agent transaction time and improving security both for you and your customers.

    Business hours can be extended to provide a round-the-clock response, every day of the year, and seasonal spikes can be managed to take payments which would normally require temporary staff or costly overtime. Seamless integration with existing systems enables personlaised service and can free agent time to allow them to focus on more productive services to add value to customer experience.

    Chapter 8. About Encoded

    Encoded is a leading Payment Service Provider and pioneer of new and innovative 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, BMW, Müller and Virgin, as well as a host of UK utility companies such as Green Star Energy, Severn Trent Water and Anglian Water.

    Omni-channel solutions include:

    • Agent Assisted Card Payments
    • E-Commerce payments
    • IVR Payments
    • Mobile Apps
    • PayByLink Mobile Payments
    • Virtual Terminal Payments

    Why Encoded?

    Encoded is a Level 1 PCI DSS accredited supplier – which means that contact centres and their customers can rely on Encoded’s technology with absolute confidence.

    Key benefits of IVR

    R

    Reduced cost in comparison to agents taking payments

    R

    Level 1 PCI DSS accreditation with Attestation of Compliance (AOC) from Encoded

    R

    Seamless integration with existing business working methods

    R

    The option to have comprehensive reporting including user behaviour analysis

    R

    Full system redundancy backup with a 99.99% uptime SLA

    Want to find out more?

    Contact us now to learn more about how Encoded can improve your business efficiency.

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    “Encoded is a dream to work with. They are efficient, reliable and totally professional with highly flexible technology to match. Always open to new ideas, they truly listen to what we want and go the extra mile to achieve it. That’s what makes them different and sets them apart from the competition.”

    - Head of Customer Contact, Park Group.

    “The people at Encoded blended well with our own team and understood our culture perfectly. They appreciated our requirement for a user-friendly solution that reflected Virgin’s own unique sense of style.”

    - Operations Analyst, Virgin Holidays.

    “Encoded has enabled us to build a truly round-the-clock operation without the need to increase our customer service headcount. To deal with the calls currently handled by IVR we estimate we would need to increase the existing number of agents by around 20%.”

    - Managing Director, Green Star Energy.

    About Encoded

    Encoded is a leading PCI DSS compliant provider of secure interactive voice response payment solutions. Encoded’s products are designed to fulfil three key objectives; Reduce costs by automated business processes, Increase sales by offering new fulfilment channels, Improve customer service by maximising resource efficiency.

    Contact Encoded

    Head Office:
    Encoded Ltd
    Spectrum House
    Beehive Ring Road
    Gatwick
    West Sussex
    RH6 0LG.

    Tel: 01293 229 700
    Email: sales@encoded.co.uk

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