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Archive for May, 2018

IVR is the Future and the Future is Here—Are You Ready?

Posted on: May 12th, 2018 by Daniel Burns

I called the bank the other day and for a change I was blown away by the superb service. Guess what made the difference. I wasn’t talking to a human.


IVR has been met with both enthusiasm and scepticism by businesses & consumers.


Because customer service plays such a huge role in any company’s success businesses find it hard entrusting their customers to a ‘robot’. However, IVR can save time, effort and money. But this is only worthwhile benefits if it actually works.


On the other end of the spectrum consumers usually prefer conversing with humans rather than technology. With a robot you can’t have discussions to make yourself understood. This was how I felt. Until yesterday.


After a short, clear question and answer conversation I was instantly directed to the correct department. I admit I was so shocked at its accuracy I was speechless for a moment. But I take this as a good sign that IVR has improved enough that it’s now here to stay. If it keeps on impressing consumers this way it will become all its inventors were hoping for.


So let’s ready ourselves for what’s to come.


IVR in the Future
The reason I was so surprised is because this technology is still evolving and I didn’t realize the advances it made. Now at last it’s reaching a stage where there are more benefits than problems with the tech, software and features.


Below are a few improvements that are on their way. So if you have major concerns, get ready to be impressed the same way I was.


Improved Voice Recognition
This is the foundation of these systems but it has been the source of frustration for many users. An ideal voice recognition system will direct you to the menu, agent or department no matter what you say on the phone.


The technology is not quite there yet so at the moment you face one of these situations:


  • – The IVR system provides you with a list of menu options. You have to press a number on your phone in accordance with the menu but this means you move the phone away from your ear and may miss some instructions.
    – You’re asked what your preferred action is but the system doesn’t recognize what you’re saying.


These problems still occur because the human voice is difficult to dissect if you’re a robot. At the moment the technology enables the system to recognize certain words that have been programmed into the setup. Of course, if you don’t use those exact words—or even if you have a unique accent—the system gets confused.


So what does the future hold?


The technology has already improved a lot and as the tech enables easier recognition these calls will become more user friendly. You’ll be given less limiting options and more people’s speech will lead to quick resolutions.


AI Driven = More Happy Customers
One type of technology that will enhance IVR is AI. Artificial intelligence—like IVR—is quickly taking over the market to benefit businesses, workers and consumers.


Now imagine when these two are combined.


Part of AI is machine learning. This tech can pick up tips from human functioning to improve its own operation.


With this capability AI can turn an IVR system into a more understanding module. Your unique speech or a lengthy sentence will still be understood even if you’re not using the exact words the systems usually recognizes.


This can benefit a call in many ways:
– The AI part of the IVR system will learn about your intent and requirements from what you say. It won’t be necessary for IVR to repeat a long list of options anymore. This will shorten calls and callers won’t feel limited in their options.
– When the call starts the caller can use any relevant sentences, words or questions instead of trying to figure out which words were programmed into the system. Yes, this will be very close to talking to a human.
– AI technology can ask questions to callers. What you say will be added to the robot’s list of facts it already knows. This is then used to find relevant information on the business’ database or direct you to an appropriate agent. Humans have such a high need of interaction and this Q&A process will feel normal, familiar and more positive than what is currently possible with IVR.


The tech is almost there. You’ll enjoy this level of service soon.


More Appropriate Menus
One of the frustrations I used to have is not knowing exactly where I want to be directed. When you talk to a customer care agent it’s easy because you can explain and ask questions until you know exactly which department will help you.


Not so with IVR. But only for the moment.


Already it’s possible for businesses to customize menus with features as easy as drag and drop. That means companies can quickly change their setups as they research and realize customers’ preferences.


And once AI joins in callers will feel less confused because there will be more interaction.


More Accurate Flows
The reason people phone your business is probably to get certain facts or details. And they want it quick. At the moment I’m not surprised when someone simply bangs down the phone when IVR can’t supply the necessary information. In some cases it’s still faster and more efficient to talk to an agent.


In future—when voice recognition has improved enough—callers will reach the right departments from the start.


It’s worth dropping our preconceived ideas and even our impressions that are based on past experiences. In the same way the TV first daunted people before they fell in love with it, IVR is set to transform how businesses communicate in the future. Don’t fall out of sync with these developments because you want your customers to be as impressed as I was this week.

IVR-All the Features You Need to Know

Posted on: May 8th, 2018 by Daniel Burns

It’s going to change how businesses function so you better stay on top of things.


Yes, IVR has been around for a while and as yet it has been given limited space in business environments. But this is the warming up period. The tech is changing, improving and starting to impress both businesses & their audiences. So get ready for action.


Are you still apprehensive about this technology? The truth is customers can find answers faster and businesses can save money. Does this sound like good enough reasons to learn more? You’ll miss out if you don’t embrace it.

The IVR Features that Change How We Work


Call Assistance
Here’s the biggest benefit that tends to attract businesses to this technology. Why waste your customer care agents’ time on filtering calls and providing basic information if a robot can do it?


IVR helps companies get more done by taking some of the load off employees’ shoulders:
– Answering calls the moment they come in which prevents customers getting frustrated with waiting.
– Gauging where calls should be directed so customers get feedback faster.
– Creating a ticketing or reservation system so it doesn’t have to happen manually
– More people are available to handle calls without employing more individuals.
– Handle basic functions such as bookings that don’t require talking to an individual.


You can see this benefits a business but customers often forget how this—albeit impersonal—system provides advantages for them too. When you know exactly what you want and you don’t want to have a conversation about it, isn’t it better to let a robot help you?


The result is faster service which is something most people insist is their top priority so it’s worth giving this tech a chance.


Information Source
Note that IVR can be tasked with much more than simply directing a call. It can help call center agents function better by already providing some information about the caller that’s transferred to him or her. Now the caller and agent can reach a solution faster.


Part of the speed of such transactions or interactions can be attributed to this: Machines handle certain tasks much faster than humans ever can.


The moment you’re identified on a call an IVR system can look for information about previous calls or transactions. This happens instantly instead of you having to wait for an agent to browse your history, read details and make assumptions.


It’s the speed with which IVR handles certain tasks that should attract us to use it even more.


Self Service
This ability to provide information also relates to helping customers get what they want. One of the best things about IVR is that customers no longer need agents to help them complete tasks.


You probably embrace this self service approach on other platforms. Don’t you love online shopping, making movie bookings and even sending personal gifts without ever talking to anyone?


Still callers tend to shy away from it when they phone a company. Why? Through IVR you can find information or handle transactions as you would do on an online platform. The only thing we tend to feel awkward about is talking to technology, not using it.


If you can ignore your apprehension you’ll realize this is exactly what we want in our lives.


Number Identification
You see people’s numbers whenever they phone you so of course number identification is not new technology. The benefit of using it with IVR is that you can be identified by your number so others—or the IVR system—can already start preparing your feedback based on the data connected to your profile.


Multi Language Options
In our global community all cultures and nations interact daily. But language is an obvious barrier that could slow down transactions or conversations.


Not if you implement IVR and you’re open to use it.


An IVR system can be set to function in multiple languages. That means your business can now engage with almost anyone from around the globe. By accommodating more people businesses show they care about their customers.


The benefit for consumers: If this technology can help you get served in your own language I see it as a better option than talking to an agent, don’t you?


Surveys and Polls
Most probably this feature makes business owners smile while it brings frowns to their customers. Most consumers hate being part of surveys or polls since it feels like wasting time.


But isn’t an IVR driven poll better than filling out lengthy questionnaires? And if it’s going to help you receive better service, isn’t it worth the sacrifice?


I love how easy it is to answer questions by pushing a few buttons. Of course I can’t share my views entirely as there aren’t any open ended questions so there’s still room for development.


Text to Speech
What’s the one way companies try to keep IVR as personal as possible? By NOT letting the systems sound like robots.


This becomes challenging when IVR must supply information outside the few recorded questions, answers or menu options. What if you need your IVR to tell incoming callers that your business is experiencing a unique challenge which influences their waiting time or transactions?


Luckily this technology has evolved and now you can communicate almost anything without even recording the word or sentence beforehand.


Simply type out what you want the IVR system to communicate and let TTS (Text to Speech) functions convert it into a very normal sounding human voice. Customers will appreciate the in depth information which will make talking to a robot seem less like a problem.


Let’s be honest. The tech is still evolving so you may find a few hiccups here and there. But at the rate this has changed over the past few years it’s only a manner of (short) time before IVR is applied in all kinds of entities. You’ll find it in businesses, public works, research projects and more. Be one of the first ones to join the pack so you can enjoy the benefits while the rest still catches up.