Innovating with IVR: Let’s Get Visual


Innovating with IVR: Visual IVRInteractive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology with a somewhat troubled past. For decades rigid menus and poorly designed user interfaces were the source of customer frustration, the catalyst for complaints and even the topic of some funny sitcom moments. But don’t hang up on your IVR just yet. New innovations and technologies are enabling businesses to reimagine IVR in ways that result in happier customers, happier agents and lower contact center costs.

Today, I’ll focus on what’s frequently referred to as Visual IVR and how it can deliver an enhanced experience that not only gets customers using your IVR, but loving it.

What is Visual IVR?
Visual IVR enhances DTMF and voice-directed menu trees with a visual interface that customers can interact with using touch or click commands from their mobile device or computer. After dialing the IVR, callers are typically offered a link (via SMS) to a web page where the IVR options are presented visually. Once the link is opened callers are essentially in a mobile web app and the IVR call can either continue with an optional transfer to an agent, or be ended. It’s worth pointing out that this sort of visual customer service menu can be presented to the customer through an IVR entry point, text, a Messaging app, web site or native mobile app.

Why Visual IVR?

#1. It’s less frustrating.
Visual IVR eliminates the frustration of listening to a stream of complex menu options, keying in responses and struggling with speech recognition issues. A well-designed solution makes it easy for customers to find the options they need and to connect to a live person at any time. The solution can be implemented to keep the IVR call open in the event an agent is needed, or to drop the call and include the ability for the customer to seamlessly queue for a callback from the app.

#2. It delivers the type of effortless, digital experience customers want.
Visual IVR is a better fit for smartphone users as it eliminates the need to toggle between listening and making selections or entering information such as an account number using the cell phone keypad. It speeds access to information and enables a richer experience, including the ability to push links, images, videos, and even documents to the customer.

#3. It supports personalization.
Like a modern IVR solution, Visual IVRs can dynamically serve menus that are specific to the caller based on their profile, preferences, behaviors and recent interactions. A customized menu not only enhances the user experience, but makes it faster for customers to get the information they need and lowers the likelihood that they’ll request agent assistance.

#4. It eases data collection.
Visual IVR enables use cases that are either impossible or cost-prohibitive to build with plain IVR, such as capturing complex data like a name or address. This has been possible with speech recognition, but required considerable investment. With digital, “what you type is what you get.” It’s also a good way to collect information needed to better route and more quickly serve customers, which leads to the next point…

#5. It enables data and context to be transferred to an agent when help is needed.
Visual IVR promotes more efficient service. For example, instead of waiting on hold, a policy holder can easily enter their basic information, including sending images, to begin their claim. Once completed – or at any point during the interaction — they can request to talk to an agent. The agent has access to all the information the customer has provided, including their menu selections, enabling them to provide more personalized and efficient service. The solution also prevents customers from having to repeat information to an agent in the event they get “stuck” and need assistance.

What Visual IVR means for your business
Innovations like Visual IVR increase the success rates of self-service – improving customer satisfaction and lowering costs for your contact center. Specifically, Visual IVR can:

  • Shorten calls by making it easier to navigate self-service menus and find answers
  • Gather data to improve routing and give agents the information needed to resolve issues more quickly
  • Significantly reduce cost of data collection, such as a name, address or alphanumeric inputs over the phone
  • Reduce telephony costs by moving customers to a mobile web application
  • Address the expectations and preferences of mobile users

Leverage and extend your existing investment
A Visual IVR is easily built leveraging your existing investment in call flows, business logic and backend integrations. Remember, Visual IVR is essentially a mobile web app and you can make it available through additional digital entry points such as Interactive Text Response (ITR), Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or native mobile apps.

Learn more about Aspect’s Visual IVR solution or read other posts in this series for additional ideas on how to innovate with IVR: