Over the past few decades, companies have incorporated Interactive Voice Response Technology (IVR), a feature which allows customers to interact with its host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition.
Until recently, IVR came in two forms – the traditional dual tone, with the customer using the phone keypad and the more recent addition of automated speech recognition (ASR), which allows customers to speak their requirements to the system. However, a new type of application is now emerging, called Visual IVR.
Visual IVR is gradually gaining popularity and, according to Gartner, is predicted to be on the agenda of most major organisations in the near future. Michael Maoz, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research, believes that it is an “exciting revolution” for the IVR space.
“Rather than listen on a ‘phone’ for a bunch of options, a menu is displayed on your Samsung/iPhone with the menu choices,” he explains. “No more trying to recall Press four now, or was that 5? Instead you press a menu item and it connects you with the person for a call or chat, or supplies more information so that you can further refine your inquiry. This could revolutionise IVR!”
numero believe that integrating IVR into other self-service channels should be part of a business’s multi-channel service strategy in order for it to meet its full potential. The integration of IVR with other channels such as web, mobile apps and SMS could provide opportunities to improve the customer experience by using data to offer more personalised and predictive interactions.
Helen Casewell, UX research manager at VoxGen commented that businesses should not forget about IVR when discussing their multichannel self-service strategy suggesting that links from their websites or mobile devices should be linked to voice channels. “For example, if someone is in the middle of paying their bill online and they experience problems, you could offer click to call, taking them directly to a billing agent rather than transferring them to the top of the IVR. If they’ve already been through Identification and Verification (ID&V), pass that ID&V information to the agent or IVR system so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat this security verification again.”
Casewell concludes: “Great IVR experiences are definitely possible, and can be quicker and easier than other channels for certain tasks. But in order to get the most from your IVR, it’s essential that the experience is usable, personalised and integrated with other channels. Do that and you’ll soon reap the benefits for your customers and your brand.”