During the launch of the new MyEnergy Online member service portal, Horry Electric has often referred to ‘the IVR’. But what, you might be asking yourself, is an IVR?
“It’s not an unusual question,” says Gail Morton, supervisor of the service department at Horry Electric Cooperative. “The only people not asking the question are those who work directly in the telecommunications industry or people who are familiar enough with the technology of the industry to know, understand and use the industry lingo.”
What is an IVR?
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a telecommunications based technology that allows users to interact with a database through a phone keypad or voice commands. “These systems save businesses like Horry Electric a lot of money and resources,” says Morton. “We’ve had one in place for several years now and it helps us with our goals of increasing operational efficiency and effective cost management without sacrificing the quality of service we’re able to offer our members.”
Most people use interactive phone systems daily to do things like check bank balances, manage credit cards, check for store hours or locations, or order prescription medicine. Human interaction is not required because the IVR system only allows limited access to the database.
IVR automation makes it possible to reach far more people than through actually manning phones. “We track call volume statistics on an ongoing basis, but the graph shown here is for October 7th at 12:00 a.m. through the 25th at 11:59 p.m.,” says Morton, adding that weekends have been separated out to show volume of transactions handled on days when the office is not open. “Having the IVR makes doing business with us convenient for everyone, no matter what day of the week or time of day.”
“With the IVR, our members don’t have to get busy signals or spend precious time on hold just to take care of simple business transactions,” says Morton. “They’re guaranteed a fresh, friendly voice when they call; they can quickly get their business transaction handled and then go on with whatever else it is that keeps them busy during the week or weekends.”
Having an IVR in place is just another way Horry Electric Cooperative is looking out for members.