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Interactive voice response technology (IVR) has long been a tool in the customer experience (CX) arsenal. But in an era of rising expectations – in terms of service quality and speed – traditional approaches and solutions are no longer enough.
Research shows that 92% of people have experienced problems using self-service tools like IVR. And 83% will avoid a company after a negative experience.
There’s no question that IVR offers an important way to resolve issues while boosting operational efficiency and reducing costs. But to reap the benefits (and avoid the pitfalls), you need to adapt your strategy.
That’s where NextGen IVR comes in.
Here are 5 ways it helps you take customer experience (and profitability) to the next level.
1. Give a natural self-service experience
74% of customers will call at some point, and they want a quick and easy resolution. That means they don’t want to be stuck in complicated menu trees or have to repeat themselves because the system doesn’t understand their responses.
NextGen IVR uses natural language processing (NLP) so callers can ask for what they need in their own words. In other words, no more frustrating menu option lists. Thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, the technology can more broadly interpret caller intent instead of reacting to keywords. This means the solution can ask questions to clarify ambiguous intent, prompt the customer for missing information and recognise mispronunciation. Importantly, it also remembers what customers have said, so there’s no exasperating repetition.
Your customers therefore get an experience that feels like using Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant – and the combination of effectiveness and familiarity makes the self-service experience feel natural and positive.
2. Personalise the customer experience
According to the CCW Executive Report, 65% of contact centre leaders believe that providing personalised service is a key quality defining a ‘customer-centric’ brand. And true personalisation – where you make customers feel valued at every touchpoint – requires the right technology.
NextGen IVR includes smart technology that enables deep personalisation. It integrates with your CRM and other relevant systems so it can access relevant information in real time.
At one end of the spectrum, this means being able to greet callers by name using automatic number identification and text-to-speech technology. But it’s at the more complex end of the spectrum that the technology becomes a game changer. NextGen IVR can also tap into browsing and interaction history to help anticipate customer needs. This means the system can home in on why someone is calling and then get answers faster. It remembers preferences like language, payment methods and communication channels. And it can tailor the experience, for example offering to call back when an agent becomes available or proactively compiling information needed for speedier resolution.
3. Make your other channels more helpful
Consumers use your range of service channels base on their needs. And that means their customer journey cuts across technologies, which can make it difficult to get that 360ºview required for a positive experience and speedy resolution.
NextGen IVR integrates with your other systems and channels and knows what the customer has done on each. Your customers feel like their call is picking up where their chat or email left off. And the system can then triage the call appropriately, so switching channel doesn’t mean a person is bumped to the back of the queue.
4. Boost loyalty and sales
Reducing waiting times, improving call resolution rates, enabling self-service – these all have a crucial thing in common: they all result in happier customers. And happy customers are both less likely to leave and more likely to recommend you. The improved customer experience you get with NextGen IVR helps with all these.
But it goes a step further. Because it can intuitively anticipate customer needs, you can offer more proactive support. This could be product, service or account information that ties in with your cross- and up-selling strategy.
It can also recognise issues before the customer gets in touch. For example, if someone’s struggling to log into their account, it can send a message about resetting their password. Research by Enkata indicates that this kind of proactive support could increase customer retention rates by 3 to 5%.
5. Have a platform for continuous optimisation
NextGen IVR is set up to for ongoing tracking, testing and optimisation. The customer journey tracker help you visualise interactions, so you can identify and fix bottlenecks.
The technology also has in-built feedback capabilities, so you can offer automated follow-up surveys to monitor customer happiness and get a clearer understanding of their experience.
NextGen IVR is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s an essential upgrade that underpins your customer experience and the associated cost base.
For a business that cares about its customers, it should be a no-brainer.
To learn more about how it’s helped businesses like yours, download our Let’s Talk About NextGen IVR playbook now.