Nothing could be worse than being stuck in an old IVR (Interactive Voice Response) with a maze of frustrating self-service menus that neither connect with a contact center agent nor give any solution! In our lives, we all have gone through this misery while contacting consumer support centers to solve a simple problem or ask a quick question!

For decades, IVR has been the workhorse of customer self-service for enterprises. Compared to other communication channels, these self-service systems cut costs, handle higher call volumes, and provide 24/7 customer service. Unfortunately, they have been a thorn of experience for customers trying to use them over the years, due to customer pain points, namely:

  • They overwhelm customers with too many menu options.
  • They don't provide solutions quickly, and pressing touchtone keys for long is annoying for customers.
  • The first menu doesn't have sufficient information or options that customers are looking for.
  • They cannot get an agent when they need to.
  • Customers often have to repeat their queries to a live agent when the call is transferred.
  • Too wordy and takes too long to get the answer.

In today's fast-paced world, what the new digital-savvy customers are expecting is something simple, intuitive, interactive, and personalized, providing a better self‑service experience. This is why forward-looking companies invest heavily on digitally disruptive technologies like Voice Recognition, AI and Machine learning to build Conversational IVR that enables more personalized and human-like conversations, instead of giving them a maze of options.

Conversational IVR is an intelligent, proactive, personal, and self-learning system that enables callers to have a natural, human-like dialogue with the automated engine using everyday language to quickly find answers and achieve desired results. By using intelligent voice-activated services, it allows callers to quickly access vital information, perform complicated tasks, and even resolve issues within the IVR as if they were speaking to a live agent. A conversational IVR can foresee the customers' needs and interact with them on a personalized level, similar to a live agent interaction. These human-like interactions balance increasing customer asks by delivering an intuitive service experience.

What does a conversational IVR do?

  • It recognizes, understands, and guides customers to the appropriate support.
  • It supports natural interactions and delivers accurate and effortless results.
  • It remembers the customer and drives interactions throughout the customer experience.
  • It understands and anticipates a customer’s unique needs and preferences.
  • It gives customers a choice in how to interact and empowers them to help themselves anywhere, anytime.

Ultimately, conversational IVR aims to fix:

  • Complex IVR menu structures
  • Changing customer expectations
  • Ease of use across touchpoints
  • Spike in call volumes

Complex IVR menu structures

Say goodbye to complicated IVR menus. With conversational IVR, you can quickly talk your way through the simple menu structure because of its intuitive integration of data. By using speech recognition tools and customer information, the application picks up the preferred language of conversation. This eases the access to conversation further on.

At the onset of the call, customers can be recognized immediately based on the caller ID and other details. This translates into a personalized conversation with questions and answers thrown back and forth between the automated operator and the customer to take them through the IVR effectively and resolve issues faster.

Changing customer expectations

Access to information through multiple channels influence expectations. This is regarded as one reason why enterprises are switching to conversational IVR. Just like you comfortably interact with virtual assistants like Google Now or Siri, the conversational IVR application ensures a smooth and easy conversation with a live operator.

It understands natural and spoken dialogue using Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology. When combined with intuitive analytics, data integration, and advanced dialog design, it allows enterprises to understand customer language and sentiments. This two-way interactive dialogue is a less structured conversational way of interaction with the end-user.

The same model can be replicated to suit the actions of individual enterprises. And can be tailored to meet the unique goals of enterprises.

Ease of use across touchpoints

As an add-on, conversational IVR allows enterprises to gain deeper insights into what customers do on other channels. As it follows their journey maps, it can help predict the intent behind the call and reduce the time for problem resolution.

For example, if you try to withdraw cash from an ATM but the card is swallowed by the machine. By connecting the channel's data sources, the enterprise’s automated system could predict the intent of your call by putting two and two together.

Spike in call volumes

If enterprises have a robust self-service system with a conversational IVR, they will manage a maximum number of calls during seasons of spikes, including festival spikes and unpredictable spikes. As an effective way to handle spikes, the automated system can help resolve a third or more calls, by predicting customer intent and quickly informing them when they needed it.

For example, if you have a failure in a Black Friday sale transaction, the intuitive nature of the IVR could help identify the transaction and help to complete the transaction by guiding you through the process.

At the onset of its implementation, the traditional IVR system aimed to lower costs while providing a consistent experience. But as time progressed, those models had to adapt to new age technology by keeping up with the needs of customers. And conversational IVR is one way it can help enterprises bridge the gaps that the traditional model failed to cover.

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