The Power of Continuity


Innovating with IVR: Text2IVR

“But I just gave you my account number…”

These are the words of a poor customer experience with an incomplete IVR – the sure sign that the CTI link between the IVR and the call center is not there. But that was so noughties. Today, the new complaint is:

“Uh yeah, I already gave you my account number on the website…”

Customers in the digital age have higher expectations than any previous generation. They expect businesses to know them by name, remember their preferences, be able to call up their interaction and transaction histories and – perhaps most importantly – ensure that they never have to enter or repeat information. In fact, a 2016 report conducted by Microsoft found that 72% of consumers surveyed expect a customer service agent to know their contact and product information as well as their service history when they contact a business for assistance. By offering context continuity, you can help make this expectation a reality.

Work it (data)… harder, better, faster, stronger

Cache is the spice mélange of our industry. It lets the internet and network applications flow. It is the ‘been there, done that’ data that we open with a cookie. A Context Cookie, to be specific. Internal databases, such as the Aspect Continuity Server, allows an application to quickly and securely insert caller data with a common key, such as the customer’s mobile phone number. And therein, we use Context Cookies as the key to keep customer continuity data, “cookie crumbles” so-to-speak; not only available for quick access through a self-service application or an agent in the contact center, but easily accessible using security and data dips that have already been done on a previous channel.

  • Two-step authentication has long been used in the healthcare and financial industry. But as long as a phone number or web identifier is one of the acceptable steps in the authentication path, that is one less step the customer may not have to repeat. The incoming call or mobile text has an associated ID with it, called an ANI.
  • Omnichannel products, such as Aspect CXP™ and Aspect Via™, allow the enterprise to simultaneously develop applications in multiple channels, such as traditional voice IVR, as well as SMS, Twitter, FB Messenger, (mobile) Web Applications, and a number of other channels. The information on one of those channels can be made available across all of the channels.

Data… Around the World

What are some of the effective means by which to use the data we keep in Context Cookies?

1. Call backs. Have you ever called a support line and they ask you for your phone number in case you were disconnected? That’s a nice to have. So why can’t we put that in the IVR? We can, and even better, we have an ANI and so we can just verify with a customer “If we are disconnected may I reach you at…?” It does add time a caller is in the IVR, granted. However, it could save customer frustration and show them we care and make an effort to improve the overall experience.

2. Call back later. Another useful option is to let the customer call (or text, or tweet) back at a later time with the rest of the information we need. But now when they contact us again, we can recognize them and say something to the effect of “…would you like to continue your call?” (or “…our conversation?) and pick up right where they left off. It’s extra work, but if customer satisfaction is key, then it’s worth it.

3. Continuity across all channels. If a customer starts their conversation in an SMS text, and then leaves the conversation, or they may be directed to call the contact center, Continuity Server can instantly pull that information from the text channel and use it in the voice channel so the customer does not have to re-enter it again. This has been great for long entries, such as mortgage applications, that are arduous over the phone, but allow the customer to take their time on the web or over text. Then the information is ready when they speak with an agent.

4. Also, our Visual IVR technique uses the same concept with difficult-to-collect voice entries such as name, address, and email. As an option, the voice IVR channel will pause your call, send the customer a SMS text, allow the customer to type in their data, and then resume their call, back on the voice channel. Alternatively, a mobile app equivalent can display the phone menu and allow for much quicker navigation, while keeping the voice channel open for a potential transfer to the contact center at the end of the call.

5. Pattern forming. Maybe every time a caller uses one of your channels, they always go to check account balance. This is an opportunity to dynamically change the caller’s call flow and tailor it just for them. Through the Continuity Server, you can modify menus and options for this customer, and move account balance to the front menu, or even better, automatically present that information to the customer as soon as they are verified.

Doin’ It Right…(With the Data)

By using Aspect’s Continuity Server and the Context Cookies concept together with existing CRM systems, we can create both a short- and long-term memory about the customers that eases their need for multiple entries and repetitive tasks when crossing channels or being handed over from self- to live service. In turn, this helps them recognize the extra services and efforts you can provide for them as a distinguishing characteristic from your competitors.

Did you miss any of these previous posts in our Innovating with IVR series?

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