Those very first few seconds when customers engage with our organization can be make-or-break of either a new relationship or the end of what may well have been a long and mutually beneficial association. (And perhaps hugely profitable to the organization.) It begs the question: Is your IVR good, bad or very ugly?
A decade ago, a simple two or three menu IVR probably met most business requirements for relatively fast and accurate routing of voice calls to appropriately skilled agents. From a customer’s perspective, in many cases, the ubiquitous IVR became an acceptable norm. So, what changed? Customer expectations changed, and those expectations have rapidly morphed into outright demands for better, faster, and more convenient and responsive 7x24x365 service.
“Please hold the line. Your call is important to us.” No, it’s not. If your call was important to us, no matter what time of day or night that you called, we would respond appropriately; we would provide you fast, convenient access to the information that you, our customer, so urgently need.
The New Changes In Visual IVR
Let’s re-look at the typical IVR. From its simple origins of two or three short menu options, many contemporary IVR systems have grown into highly complex structures with a myriad of tagged-on options and choices and far too frequently presented with long, confusing phrases and anything but exciting voice delivery. It is no small wonder that throughout the world, the vast majority of customers have come to resent the ‘dreaded IVR.' In the digitally enabled customer service environment of today, ‘old-fashioned’ IVR simply will no longer be tolerated.
Although there may be some marginal differences in certain geographies and verticals, the penetration and usage of smartphone technology has already become the de facto communication method for most customers. Let’s face it, scanning, swiping and clicking a smartphone screen is today as intuitive and instinctive to many a Baby Boomer as it is second nature to a Generation Z or a Millennial customer. Enter Visual IVR.
By scanning and clicking through a visual IVR smartphone menu, in mere seconds a customer can find either the exact information that they were looking for or they can effortlessly connect with the right agent or service resource. What’s more, the information that they have perhaps entered in this slick process is relayed to the agent, so there’s no need for the customer to repeat themselves.
It’s not only on the smartphone screen where visual IVR demonstrates its incredible power to provide optimized customer experiences. Visual IVR works equally well on typical web self-service sites. Now customers can navigate their way through the visual IVR menu system and route themselves directly to the answers that they need or to the appropriate agent; perhaps with a simple click-to-call or call-back option. It just couldn’t get easier.
It is also important to recognize that visual IVR supplements and provides a powerful alternative experience for customers perhaps accustomed to conventional telephone or pure voice-based IVR. In fact, visual IVR works on the exact same Voice XML (or VXML) scripts that are used to create and manage voice-only IVR systems. So there’s no need to re-develop or to make changes to multiple systems.
Because visual IVR is just one of the many powerful, modular components of a truly digital, omnichannel contact center platform, such systems can rapidly ‘learn’ a great deal about customers and their individual preferences. Not only does this data provide the organization with the ability to analyze and in some cases, predict individual customer behavior but also to provide accurate and appropriate customization and personalization. It’s the ultimate ‘Customer Wow Experience.'
Visual IVR opens up the potential for any organization to deliver fast, efficient and effective self-service options together with accurate and reliable channel-independent routing. All this adds up to an incredibly powerful competitive advantage whilst simultaneously providing customers with a seamless, low-effort service experience.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.