Author: Claire Lynam, Marketing Manager, Eckoh
Sometimes seen as a 'yesterday's tech', your IVR system may be left to mumble away in the background, slipping into the backwaters, like a faded country singer reduced to playing in deserted bars.
But even though they may not be the sexiest comms tool in today’s dazzling array of devices, apps and channels, IVRs are still essential and have a profound influence on customer experience and satisfaction.
The mistake many organisations have made is neglecting them - holding on to an out of date system that doesn’t link with other channels such as a unified communications platform. So, it’s little wonder that customer service leaders screw their noses up when IVR is mentioned.
Evolving IVRs for the 2020s
The fact is, customers like using IVRs. According to Forrester, about 79 percent of customers would rather self-serve than use human-assisted support channels. But despite channels such as chatbots, websites, SMS, messaging, social media and more, consumers still like to contact businesses using a voice channel.
The resurgence of interest in IVR systems has been largely due to the steady consumer demand for voice services. Advances in AI and machine learning technology and access to large amounts of ‘big data’ has enabled modern IVRs to be more personal and conversational.
The need to improve customer service has been the key driver in consolidating contact channels under one communications platform. As a result, self-service and human contact channels access the same pool of information to serve back to your customer for consistent and accurate interaction. The voice channel is an integral part of this mix and should be given at least as much attention as any other channel so that customers can choose their preferred option.
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To bring your IVR up-to-date and in line with your other self-services, there are questions to consider:
Recent innovations in IVR technology will change consumer reactions radically for the better — and propel your business forwards rather than hold it back.
Five ways you can evolve your IVR into the multi-channel platform it needs to be
#1 Make it conversational: Consumer expectations have changed since the arrival of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant meaning the consumers are now fully adapted to speaking naturally to automated systems so IVR self-service now needs to meet this expectation. Gartner predicts that by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service interactions compared to 40% in 2019.
#2: Link voice to your website to create a visual aid. Many callers have smartphones, and technology now exists to give them the choice of options on their device screen while still interacting with an IVR. The IVR effectively steers the caller through steps that can make tasks like order tracking, or account enquiries a lot easier. When it comes to larger pieces of information, being able to see them can really help in completing an interaction and Visual IVR makes this possible.
#3: Identify and verify callers in seconds. Authenticating callers using ID&V is necessary, but it doesn’t need to be handled by an agent. Identifying customers before the agent gets involved will make the engagement smoother and more personal. Ultra-fast automated caller authentication will also save valuable time for your agents and customers.
#4: Remove phone menus ... forever. With IVR Natural Language and AI technology, callers can take control of their interactions, avoid frustration and get to the right place in seconds by simply saying exactly what they want, in their own words. Intelligent call routing ensures that the call goes to the most suitable agent, department or self-service system for first time resolution.
#5 Don’t forget the human element: Despite the growth of digital channels and automated speech interaction there are times when a customer just wants, or needs, to speak to a live agent. An IVR can handle the self-service vs agent engagement seamlessly so everyone can get in touch in the way they prefer.
Eckoh is a global provider of Secure Payment and Customer Engagement solutions via our Eckoh Experience Portal. We’ve an international client base and offices in the UK and US. We're providers in transforming contact centre operations by delivering customer experiences across every channel, boosting agent productivity, reducing operations costs and maximising payment security. We’ve over 20 years’ experience in contact centre technology solutions. Eckoh has been a PCI DSS Level One Service Provider since 2010.
Published: Wednesday, October 7, 2020
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