November 7, 2022

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System & Virtual Agents: 10 Reasons Your Call Center Needs them

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Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System & Virtual Agents: 10 Reasons Your Call Center Needs them

In a call center environment, heavy call volume can usually be expected ahead of time. This is why an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System is employed in a contact center. Supervisors can then make sure that enough agents are scheduled. Sometimes more calls than usual keep coming on days that are usually slow. Other times, not enough agents may be available to handle all incoming calls, regardless of volume. All of this is par for the course in a call center.

However, despite the normalcy, a sudden influx of calls can be quite stressful for agents and customers alike. Agents may feel pressured to get through each conversation as quickly as possible as they see the queue building up. Customers may get upset if they feel rushed. They may also feel frustrated if they are on hold too long and only have one simple question. It’s important to provide customers with options like IVR, or an Integrated Voice Response system, to quickly get the help they need. This provides them the opportunity to self-service without having to wait. IVR also helps agents by reducing call volume. Fortunately, IVR doesn’t have to be a robotic voice on the other end of the phone. You can use virtual agents with superb language abilities instead. If you want to go the extra mile for your customers, providing a more personalized interaction for them with advanced virtual agents is a great way to do that. 

What is a virtual agent?

A virtual agent is software designed to assist customers the way a live agent would. Scripts are pre-programmed with FAQ responses and allow customers to ask common questions. Virtual agents can be implemented in several ways such as IVR, web chat, and SMS. At LiveVox, we’ve developed AI Virtual Agents to provide customers with a better experience. Our AI Virtual Agents use NLP (Natural Language Processing) for more natural sounding conversations. They are also capable of  “learning” more as they acquire new information through each interaction. In order to take your interactive voice response system to the next level, consider implementing AI Virtual Agents. Here are 10 reasons why.

What is a virtual agent?

1. More personalized interactions

According to a survey by Statista, 63% of marketers responded that personalization boosted conversion rates. AI Virtual agents can provide customers with natural-sounding and more personalized conversations that sets them at ease. The difference between an impersonal, computerized voice in an IVR system and the voice from an AI-powered Virtual Agent makes it easy to see why customers feel more secure when reaching out for help. 

2. Accurate call routing

When an upset customer calls in needing to speak to someone, waiting on hold for too long can make the situation worse. If they happen to reach a low-quality IVR system, their frustration can quickly escalate as they find themselves repeating the same answers over and over. This could possibly result in getting transferred to the wrong department and cause them to become even more upset. LiveVox AI Virtual Agents use advanced speech recognition to accurately transcribe what customers are saying so they can be redirected to the right person. 

3. Improve customer service efficiency

Virtual agents combined with IVR help improve customer service efficiency by reducing wait times and expanding a call center’s bandwidth. As customers call in, virtual agents through the IVR system can assist customers with self-service options and answer many questions. Customers don’t have to wait on hold anymore since a virtual agent can help right away. This allows call centers to help more people while reducing the number of abandoned calls. 

4. Enhanced self-service options

Although customers can perform most self-service options on their own through IVR, adding a virtual agent provides a better customer experience. Customers can speak to the virtual agent the way they would to any representative. LiveVox’s AI Virtual Agents can understand customers’ speech and respond in a similar manner. Virtual agents can take payments, answer questions about billing, check in on orders, and more. This allows customers to get a more personalized experience when they opt for self-service.

5. Improve first call resolution rates

First call resolution rates can improve by using virtual agents with your IVR system. Since the transcription accuracy is greater with a virtual agent, customers that call in get the help they are asking for. When the IVR system doesn’t pick up what a customer is saying, customers may hang up and call back another time or go on to speak to an agent. Customers can get the answers to their questions on the first call thanks to advanced AI technology, and call centers can see an improvement in first call resolution rates.

6. Save time on coaching and training agents

IVR Virtual agents don’t require time consuming training or coaching because they function according to the script they are programmed with. The LiveVox platform monitors and records AI Virtual Agent interactions. If changes need to be made, users can simply make necessary no-code and low-code adjustments. Team supervisors can use their time efficiently and help live agents with more complex issues that need to be resolved.

7. Cut significant costs

Expanding your call center with IVR virtual agents spares your company some potentially massive expenses. Hiring and training agents can be quite expensive. High agent turnover rates can make those costs even higher. AI Virtual Agents are much less costly and are capable of delivering a personalized, satisfactory customer experience without the extra investment.

8. Valuable business intelligence

The LiveVox platform gathers valuable data from every interaction AI Virtual Agents have with their customers

The LiveVox platform gathers valuable data from every interaction AI Virtual Agents have with their customers. Much like the way analytics are recorded from conversations that live agents have with customers, the LiveVox Analytics Solution is capable of generating BI reports from the conversations that virtual agents have with customers. Call center management teams can use those reports to identify trends, discover new customer needs, and get a better understanding of customers’ sentiment.

9. Better agent experience

Virtual agents enhance the agent experience too. Aside from the reduced call volume, IVR virtual agents can gather all the necessary information from customers as they call in. They can conduct the verification process before transferring to an agent. Once connected, the agent will already have all the relevant information in front of them. There is no need to have the customer repeat themselves or spend time looking them up. The convenience makes the agent’s job much easier, freeing them up to focus clearly on the customer.

10. Easy to scale

Implementing more virtual agents into your interactive voice response system is as simple as an installation. Call centers can take advantage of AI Virtual Agents during busier days such as after the holidays or promotions. Hiring temporary agents to handle extra call volume is time consuming and can involve several moving parts. Instead, call centers can rely on virtual agents to take care of customers’ needs during temporary busy periods. LiveVox makes scaling effortless using AI Virtual Agents for your IVR system to ensure that your customers are getting the support they need. 

The benefits that come from integrating virtual agents into your IVR improves the overall performance of the call center by increasing customer satisfaction, simplifying workflows, and reducing costs. You can learn more about LiveVox Virtual Agents by requesting a demo here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IVR call?

An IVR call describes when a caller reaches an Integrative Voice Response system. Customers can “speak” with the IVR system to request the help they need.

What types of IVRs can use artificial intelligence?

LiveVox AI Virtual Agents are one example of IVRs that use AI. They are capable of learning new things as they build upon the information they gather through each interaction.

What are the business benefits and limitations of an interactive voice response system?

There are several benefits to an IVR system such as higher call capacity, increased customer satisfaction, improved first call resolution rates, and a significant reduction in expenses related to hiring and training new agents. Limitations of an IVR are related to what the AI hasn’t learned yet. For example, if a customer calls in with a new complex problem, the IVR virtual agent may not have the ability to recognize it, especially if it includes different words and phrases it hasn’t heard before. As a result, the customer would be transferred to an agent.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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