CXP 17: Creating a More Human-Friendly IVR

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In the previous parts of our 3-part series on the new features of Aspect CXP 17, you learned:

  • how the new CX Designer interface opens IVR and chatbot development and maintenance to not-so-technical staff
  • how the newly designed NLU scripting language makes your chatbots much more artificially intelligent about understanding natural languagecxp-app-lifecycle-management

In this final part, I’d like to revisit the topic of how to build great IVR. Many of us experience IVR systems that feel fairly robotic. Not only do they not do the best job at presenting menu options that make sense or matter to us, they also often sound unnatural when reading back numbers or dates. While the first is a matter of smarter VUI (Voice User Interface) design, which Aspect Professional Services can help with, the second is something you’d want support from your IVR platform for.

Consider the difference between the following two IVR prompts that read back a phone number for the customer:

When an IVR system announces data such as confirmation codes, addresses, or telephone numbers, the customer needs to pay close attention – oftentimes this data is crucial to the success of the entire call. Obtaining this level of information is the very reason the customer called in the first place. What you want to avoid is adding to the struggle of understanding important information over the phone by offering bad quality of your IVR voice.

CXP 17 comes with a built-in library that lets you format dates, times, digits, cardinal numbers, and more data types. It even ships with prerecorded prompts for these formatting algorithms, for English (US, UK, Australian), German, Spanish (US), and Portuguese (Brazil). More languages will be added in future releases.

So, with almost no additional coding effort, you can immediately benefit from the improved voice quality of your IVR. Note that the formatting algorithms also take care of your chatbot and disposable mobile Web apps. In these non-voice domains, you will still want to properly format different data types for better readability, e.g. phone numbers by using parentheses and hyphens: (407) 777-5544, as shown in the following diagram:

 

City of Mesa

 

This concludes our short series on some of the new features of Aspect CXP 17. If you’re curious about how to use it for IVR development, check out this video that walks you through the 7 key capabilities a Modern IVR should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6E4PrFfSus

Or, if you want to explore the topic of chatbots, here’s a starter for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF1H-iHJD3Y&t=3s

Get access to CXP 17 here: www.aspect.com/free – and review the release notes here. Happy coding!

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Tobias Goebel

Tobias is Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. He has over 14 years of experience in customer care technology and the contact center industry with roles spanning engineering, consulting, pre-sales engineering, program and product management, and product marketing. As part of Aspect's product management and marketing team today, he works on defining the future of the mobile customer experience, bringing together channels such as mobile apps, messaging, voice, and social. He is a frequent speaker and blogger on topics around customer service and, more recently, the (re-)emerging chatbot, NLP, and AI technologies. Tobias holds degrees in Computational Linguistics, Phonetics, and Computer Science from the universities of Bonn, Germany and Edinburgh, UK.
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