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7 Features that Are Critical for Successful IVR Systems in 2018

October 2, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Calvin Paige, Independent Technology Author

denim 300x144 7 Features that Are Critical for Successful IVR Systems in 2018

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) isn’t new. It’s long been a key component of customer service, helping automate engagement, simplify solutions for customers, and increase efficiency of contact centers. But, as the digital world has created new opportunities for engaging customers across various channels, many of those trends can be leveraged to create more effective IVR systems. Here are some of the new ways modern IVR platforms are creating better customer support organizations.

Natural Language Processing

Perhaps the biggest impediment to IVR satisfaction is the inability to quickly reach a resolution. Instead, callers traditionally have been forced to listen through a number of options to determine the proper phrases to utter or buttons to press to navigate through a lengthy IVR tree. Today’s customers expect these systems to function like live agents in terms of understanding. They want to simply state their problem and know the system will bring them to the right solution. Natural Language Processing delivers the intelligent speech recognition that helps avoid waiting through lists of phrases and can skip many branches of a traditional IVR tree to bring customers to resolution faster.

Chatbots

Chatbots are the next phase of NLP in customer service, driving automated agents that interact with customers – chat- or voice-based – giving the impression of a live engagement. Chatbots are able to quickly and easily understand customer requests, but in addition to directing them to a solution, can also create a two-way engagement to gather more specific information about a problem, or to provide detailed information that will help customers reach a resolution, including product tips or related offers. Chatbots help bridge the gap between IVR systems and live agents.

Multilingual support

To effectively respond to a diverse customer base, IVR features should include multilingual support to deliver a better experience for customers. By enabling them to engage in their primary language, their level of comfort rises increasing the chances for a satisfying experience. In addition, by allowing customers to seek self-support options in their primary languages, the chances of reaching a successful solution increase because there is less likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding.

Omnichannel support

While customers often prefer to start with self-service options, they often find they need to engage a live agent. Integrating IVR with live agent queues drives a seamless transition between channels. One critical element is to make access to live agents easy and evident. Too often, customers become frustrated because access to live agents has been hidden in the IVR interface. These systems should also support integration with CRM systems and other databases so customer journey data can be collected to better understand trends and opportunities for improving IVR.

Callback integration

One of the key developments in contacts centers is the addition of callback options to reduce hold times and increase satisfaction. With multichannel integration, callback options will help reduce strain on live agents – regardless of channel – during peak volumes and eliminate customer frustration due to long wait times.

Visual IVR

Today’s digital customers are keen on self-service and expect to be able to solve their own problems across whatever channels they choose to use. That means IVR has to adapt to include more than voice. Visual IVR take turns the traditional IVR into a visual representation that can be used on smartphones, tablets, or laptops – whatever device customers choose to use. Using visual menus on their screens, customers are able to navigate to solutions quickly and quietly, wherever they are. Text-based Natural Language Processing can also be used to reduce the steps to resolution by bringing customers closer to their solutions right away. The continued digital engagement also creates masses of data that businesses can collect about customers that can be integrated into customer databases for more complete profiles and better customer service. That data can also make live engagements – whether voice or chat – more efficient by allowing agents to understand the customer journey to the point of engagement.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is quickly becoming a key component of customer service platforms, and IVR is no exception. The ability for AI engines to understand not only intent, but also emotion, can be a key to delivering quality customer service. In addition to driving more personalized IVR engagements, including more engaging chatbots and even suggesting live agent responses to specific inquiries, AI can be useful in detecting fraud. As the frequency of fraudulent engagement increases and as criminals seek to circumvent live agents to access account information or make purchases through automated channels, AI can be a tremendous asset for businesses.

IVR won’t solve all customer problems. Some of them are too complex and some customers simply prefer to deal with a live agent. But, adapting IVR to digital trends will set customer service organizations up to deliver exceptional support through a combination of self-service and live agents well into the next decade.

 

DATA and ANALYTICS 

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