Virtual Office Featured Article

Enhanced IVR Can Transform the Customer Experience

March 31, 2017
By Alicia Young - Web Editor

Cloud-based platforms have been revolutionizing the workplace ever since companies decided to stop being afraid of the unknown and gave the cloud a shot. There have been plenty of great advancements due to this leap of faith, one of which is IVR.

 I think it’s safe to say that most people have a love/hate relationship with interactive voice response (IVR). IVR technology is great in that it allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keyboard, but it can also result in a screaming match between the caller and the automated system when the IVR does not understand what the caller is saying. This problem has gotten much better since IVR was first introduced—although I still occasionally have to repeat myself a few times on a call.

The betterment of IVR occurred because companies realized they needed to provide a better customer experience. IVR is all about cost savings, but cost savings aren’t exactly worth it if people stop using your company because calling in is too stressful. That’s why new applications are available for IVR, which can make the overall customer experience much better and keep consumers coming back thanks to ease of use.

According to Callan Schebella in his recent article, today’s IVR solutions can “range from simple inbound touch-tone IVRs to complex pre-routing and outbound automation services, utilizing a full range of self-service technologies including speech recognition, text-to-speech, SMS (text) solutions, PCI (News - Alert)-compliant payments, call center agent screen-pop, outbound dialer, and voice biometrics. Even the concept of a ‘phone call’ is changing quickly with the introduction of new technologies like WebRTC for browser-based voice communication.” There’s quite a few options to choose from here, and none of them would be possible without the cloud.

Schebella writes that the four best IVR applications to integrate into your cloud telephony strategy are voice biometrics for customer authentication, SMS for end-to-end multichannel support, voice chat using WebRTC and data analytics to improve performance.

In my opinion, voice biometrics for customer authentication is the most important IVR application. If you think about it, calling a company isn’t always the most secure experience. I’ve called companies before that didn’t ask for any extra verification other than my name and birthday—which are two pieces of information that anyone could easily find out. If all companies were that lax, fraudsters would be having a field day calling into contact centers and learning about people’s personal information. Of course, plenty of other contact centers ask callers for their SSN, but that still doesn’t necessarily prove that the caller is who they say they are.

That’s why voice biometrics could prove to be so helpful. Not only could it be used to verify customer identity but, as Schebella points out, “…an organization can combine voice biometrics with connect dialer software to confirm that Web application users are who they say they are. They can also integrate voice biometrics with internal systems to do things like LAN password reset, employee expense requests, or PTO balance, among many other things.”

Whether you’re using voice biometrics for security, SMS to create an omnichannel customer experience, WebRTC to enable voice chat or data analytics to improve performance, they’re all great additions to the typical IVR technology. No matter which method seems best for your company, one thing remains the same: you have the cloud to thank for the improved customer experience. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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