Voice IVR (Integrated Voice Response) is a software tool call centers use to greatly enhance the customer and agent experience. An IVR system is an alternative to touch tone, where customers call in to a customer service line and press a number on the dialpad to choose an option. These options typically include different departments, specific customer service agents, payments, or a transfer to a live agent. Voice IVR instead allows customers to speak their selection into the phone. This is easier for them to navigate, especially since many customers may be multi-tasking and unable to use their hands. The IVR also acts as a call distributor. The system interprets what the customer is saying and acts accordingly. It can route customers to the department of their choice or to a live agent.
Previously, IVR systems were problematic because they often picked up background noise that made it difficult and frustrating the callers. Older IVR systems weren’t able to distinguish between human voice and background noise, resulting in frequent call flow interruptions. At times, calls would escalate as IVR systems would route callers to the wrong department after misunderstanding a customer request. Now, highly advanced speech transcription tools integrate into IVR systems to provide customers with a much better experience. By using NLP (Natural Language Processing) and Machine Learning, speech tools improve the quality of an IVR system. This results not only in a more natural sounding conversation, but also in the software’s ability to “learn” from previous interactions. Customers can have normal-sounding conversations with these AI virtual agents and get the support they need much faster than they would waiting on hold.
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When a customer initiates the IVR payment process, they must first verify their identity through personal information only known to them, such as a PIN number or passcode. Only then will they have access to information about their account and the ability to make payments. However, in the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for wrongdoers to gain access to sensitive information through scams using IVR and hacking techniques such as “voice phishing.”
If your company’s operational workflow is a bit nuanced, an IVR system with highly configurable and customizable setup modules would most likely improve call routing accuracy. Self-service options through an IVR bring benefits not only to the customer using it but to the contact center’s agents too.