An IVR system may seem impersonal, but when combined with AI it can help resolve problems and provide better customer service round the clock.
Has a ubiquitous voice prompt ever captured your attention? The Interactive Voice Response(IVR) which is customarily employed to know your language preference or give instructions has made each of our lives very easy. Do you recall instances where these calls tell us, ‘Your call is important to us, please hold.’ But the questions lies what does an IVR system exactly does that brings out a response from us. What makes us invest time and hold on the call? What are the constituents that make IVR an intelligent system?
Having experienced at least a couple of flavours of an IVR, let us first understand what the mechanics behind this highly reciprocal interactive system is.
Elementary yet bi-directional, an IVR system is chiefly an application that provides a pre-recorded voice response for various scenarios that can be applied by using keypad signal logic, enabling access to relevant data, and – potentially - the ability to record voice inputs for later use. Moreover, using computer telephony integration (CTI), an IVR can hand off a call to a human who can then view data and information related to the caller and respond appropriately.
This being the basis of an Intelligent IVR, it comes with extremely versatile applicability in domains such as sales, marketing, surveys, research, information, and many others. It plays a pivotal role in streamlining calls and achieving greater customer satisfaction with a 24x7 service. Besides that, a call centre comes with an algorithmic process that directs the call to the next available response executive.
But while it comes with its own set of benefits, an IVR system is an impersonal associate between customers and agents. Additionally, it is designed to respond to queries that are not tabulated, leaving callers frustrated at times, and fulfilled at others.
The inception of artificial intelligence has paved the way for an advanced response in interactive behaviour. Adding to its prowess, voice recognition software enables both the caller and the system to be more responsive. IVR has been fed with probable scenarios for better response and greater customer delight.
Starting with recognising a language from a list of options for identifying location and base of the caller based on telephone numbers, AI is an integral role player in making IVR smarter. Incorporating various features and technologies goes in with the sole motto of improvised customer service and reduced customer efforts. This, in turn, is channelised to elevate customer loyalty.
Focused on proffering a delighted customer experience, IVR lets a brand or an organisation continue business operations combined with research. Having said that, it is quite apparent that IVR optimisation is key for this purpose. It aims to extend features such as shorter menu options, multiple language options, updating the IVR script, delivery consistency, acting on feedback, response to surveys and research, and routing of calls to relevant departments.
The ubiquitous “telephone operator” of yore has changed to a “live” call centre agent who answers a call in the case of an emphatic need to respond vocally and aurally to a customer. More so, an IVR has been integrated seamlessly into the telephone query system.
From regular organisations’ information to high-end commerce delivery, companies have made the IVR system a must-have as a part of their first contact point with a customer. Having a self-service option proves to be beneficial for a variety of businesses. Consider ecommerce, for instance where IVR plays a higher role in customer behaviour. Customers nowadays are quick to drop a call if they are kept on hold for a long time, or if their queries are answered unsatisfactorily. Nevertheless, these customers will be happy to dial pre-logged-in numbers in the hope of their queries being answered.
Intelligent and interactive voice response is the holistic approach to ensure a smooth response. For a customer will be pleased only if his queries are sorted out. Embracing an intelligent IVR is key to an organisation as an enabler of business.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)