Customers’ demands for quick interactions call for an evolution and simplification of traditional IVRs: the times of “Press 1 to…” are over, and they’re leaving the floor to AI that lets customers reach the agents they need with just one question. Read on to discover why the time to switch from traditional to Conversational IVRs is now.
Traditional IVRs vs. Conversational IVRs: what are the differences?
If you’ve ever tried to contact any business via phone, chances are you’ve found yourself navigating through the menu of a traditional IVR telling you to “Press 1 for this matter, Press 2 for this other matter,” and so on.
Simply put, traditional IVRs rely on multi-level auto attendant menus to navigate the user through a pre-built path that eventually leads them to the person or department they’re looking for. The limitations this brings are multiple, but they could be summarized in these two points:
The support a traditional IVR can bring is limited to pre-set scripts. If a user needs something that’s outside the predetermined scope of the traditional IVR, they won’t get the help they need.
Traditional IVRs are hard to update. Updating them requires re-programming, editing, and re-recording menu prompts, things that only IT or tech people know how to do.
This is why 98% of customers find traditional IVRs frustrating or try to skip them entirely. The top things customers dislike about this technology are as follows:
45% feels they’re forced to listen to irrelevant options
43% thinks the reasons they’re calling for are not listed
37% perceives menus to be too long
35% thinks traditional IVRs prevent them from reaching an agent
So how can a business remove these alarming percentages of unhappy customers? Through AI-powered Conversational IVRs.
Unlike traditional IVR, which presents a menu of options for customers to choose from, Conversational IVRs work through AI-powered speech recognition technology to understand customer requests with a singular voice prompt. This allows customers to communicate their needs in their own words, without having to navigate complex menus or follow a predetermined script.
Conversational IVR systems use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to continually improve their ability to understand natural language, and in some cases they can even recognize accents and dialects to provide a more personalized experience.
In other words, instead of pressing buttons to reach the agent they’re looking for, customers can simply state their demand, and the AI behind Conversational IVRs will immediately bring them to the right person to speak to.
Benefits of Conversational IVRs over traditional IVRs
One of the biggest advantages is improved customer experience, but the improvement of employee experience surely doesn’t go unnoticed.
No more pressing buttons. Conversational IVRs allow customers to ask questions and make requests using their own words, without having to memorize menu options or follow a predetermined script.
Faster interactions. Customers want to solve their problems in a fast and seamless way: eliminating the infinite minutes they spend pressing buttons allows to solve their requests faster, making them happier.
Improved call routing. AI speech recognition, able to understand customers’ natural language, makes sure that calls always gets to the right person after one voice prompt, eliminating cases where there’s misinterpretation or lack of options leading customers to the wrong agent.
Time optimization for agents. With better call routing, agents will only handle the calls they should, instead of picking up the wrong ones.
Faster, around-the-clock customer service. Not only do customers want to solve issues on their own, they want to be able to do it 24/7, 365 days a year. Conversational AI also gives the possibility of implementing voice or chatbots to serve customers automatically at any time of day, giving them more control over their issues and faster responses.
In a nutshell, a Conversational IVR technology always brings the customer to the right person thanks to one single voice request, avoiding:
Time spent through IVR menus.
Calls dispatched to the wrong department/agent due to limited menu options.
Customers waiting for the next day to solve their problem if an automated chatbot or voicebot is implemented.
Ultimately improving customer satisfaction and ROI.
These benefits are applicable to virtually all verticals: even though every sector has its own unique challenges and needs, each one of them benefits from a faster, AI-powered dispatch of calls: in healthcare, patients can reach the right doctor in seconds; in public administrations, citizens can reach the right department in seconds, and so on.
How can I implement a Conversational IVR?
The answer is simple. It’s Imagicle Conversational AI, which not only brings Conversational IVRs to your system: it also allows a higher level of automation thanks to chatbots and voicebots able to handle customer requests, with the option of escalating to a human agent when needed.
Imagicle Conversational AI automates conversations through natural interactions and integrates chat and voice channels with virtual and human agents to improve customer and employee experience.
Every request is managed by a virtual assistant via voicebot or chatbot in real time with the option of transferring to an operator when needed. If you wish to learn more, you can read our Conversational AI blog post.
The use of platforms like Conversational AI is becoming increasingly common, precisely because it brings automation features.
Imagicle Conversational AI is natively integrated with your calling platform (Cisco, Microsoft, etc.) and Imagicle’s inbound call management solutions without the need for additional lines or telephone numbers.