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Digital IVR The New Front Lines of Digital Customer Service

As the nature of customer service is quickly evolving, new channels of communications i.e. web, mobile and social, have raised the bar of customer expectations, and delivering an exceptional experience has become critical to business success. According to a report, 33% of overall caller satisfaction today is determined by the IVR experience. However, despite companies investing considerable time and money in researching and developing the most optimized IVR technology for the best customer experience possible, it is mostly failing. Luckily, a new form of IVR is emerging that is changing the landscape of customer service. Let’s take a look:

The Failure of Traditional IVR

As 70% of customers today are utilizing the phone for customer service, for many companies the IVR (interactive voice response) is still the front-line method of choice, a menu system that uses either s touch-tone technology or speech-recognition to manage the identification and routing of callers to the customer service agents. However, while the goal of IVR originally was to be an accessible and efficient communication channel to ease the burden on call centers, thus lowering costs and improving customer service, it hasn’t quite lived up those expectations. A traditional IVR system has no awareness of what a customer did on a website before making the call, while confusing options, poor voice recognition and a limited ability to collect information have all lead to high rates of zeroing out and call abandonments. In fact, studies show that of the 60% of customers today who opt for self-service, only 20% succeed, while the remaining 80% end up in the call center. All of this apparently sends customer satisfaction spiraling downward, as are the costs savings IVR was meant to provide.

The Visual IVR: The CX Solution for the Digital Age

With already over 1 billion smartphones users worldwide and growing, "Voice" is slowly being replaced in favor of a communication channel that enables users to leverage their devices for customer service on the go. Visual IVR provides the solution to this ever-growing need by transferring the existing IVR technology onto their phone screens. By just logging into the company’s website or mobile app customers can access an intuitive, user-friendly visual IVR menu interface. Users can touch their way through visual menus, speak to a particular call center agent or even view holding time and choose a callback option – all from the comforts of their smartphones. Visual IVR is fulfilling many of the promises Voice IVR was meant to fulfill. These include:

1. Self-Service Empowerment

As Visual IVR negates the need for speech recognition, customers no longer need to listen to lengthy menus and may skip ahead at their own pace ahead of the information they require. Since self-service is made so much easier thanks to Visual IVR, many issues can be solved on the first attempt without ever needing to contact a representative. This means fewer calls to live agents as well as an increase customer satisfaction.

2. Timesaving Customers and Call Centers.

As Visual IVR collects valuable data before transferring a caller to an agent, it dramatically cuts down on call handle time. At the same time, it allows customers to automatically connect to the most qualified agent who has the full context of the customer’s issues. Customers don’t need to be re-routed from one agent to another, explaining their problem again and again, and making dropped calls far less likely when visual IVR systems are in place. Finally, automatic callbacks can help customers save time when they are kept waiting too long in a queue.

3. Agent Efficiency

Call center efficiency is not only about saving call handle time but also completing tasks in an organized and systematic manner. Visual IVR enables call center agents to deliver the best service possible since it matches customers to agents with particular expertise. Furthermore, agent efficiency improves as agents gain more time to or serve customers on other channels or focus on other tasks.

4. Cost Savings

Visual IVR is highly cost-efficient. It’s less expensive to deploy than traditional IVR systems, and may even be integrated into an existing IVR system. Agents do not require training to locate information that the system automatically provides while spending less time on the phone with customers also lowers costs on the voice channel. Furthermore, since staffing operational costs account for 70 to 80% of call center budgets, using visual IVR is crucial for minimizing the required amount of staff necessary to meet required service levels.

Now you can deliver a personalized and digital self-service experience to your voice callers, while also enjoying increased agent efficiency, greater cost savings, increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, all at the same time!