Business telecommunication cogitates interactive voice response (IVR) as one of the leading interaction solutions evolving to new heights recently. An effectual IVR solution is much more than just a communication interface. An IVR enables systematic detection, segregation and multilevel call routing to the representatives through automation. The most prevalent usage of IVR technology can be observed in organisations dealing with customer queries, including billing inquiries, technical support, information on new product/service launches, complaints, and much more. IVR comes with key functionalities such as personalised message and prompt configuration, data collection from callers into a centralised database, customer support automation, prioritisation of calls as per value addition to business and management of high call volumes.
The IVR software has many features and functionalities to offer, but with the advancement in technology, progression justifies keeping pace with the new times. With the ease of higher scalability and reduced operational costs, the demand for IVR has seen exponential growth in the past few years. Being a part of cloud telephony solutions, IVR provides an increase in customer service efficiency, first contact resolution, professionalism, and customer satisfaction to an enterprise. However, customers look forward to interacting with a live agent as compared to automated assistance. Studies show that most of the callers deem traditional IVR as stressful due to irrelevant options on the menu and long wait times. But with constant development in automation, the modern IVR system can enable users to speak directly to the system rather than typing in between calls.
The traditional IVR system uses keypad inputs for accessing information or options. Even though it has been an infallible design, the urge to better the machine has instigated designers to contemplate the future of IVR-based telecom services. Top IVR service providers have taken a keen interest in integrating innovative & pioneering technical advances into the traditional IVR system to increase customer convenience, business expandability and overall customer experience.
Let’s look into a few of the upcoming technological breakthroughs that can accelerate advancements in IVR outlook.
Artificial Intelligence-based Assistance :–
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future of technological advances. Cloud telephony services are augmented with AI to substitute more reliable, accessible and efficient customer service options in the IVR solution. The integration of artificial intelligence into the IVR magnifies its quality. It entitles it to the cutting-edge technology of machine learning and natural language usage, an advanced voice recognition technology. While upgrading to voice recognition, it becomes crucial to comprehend the free flow of human conversation for an accurate and relevant response from the system, which can be easily handled thereafter. AI enables intuitive interactions based on insights from customer service demands, improving the customer experience and customer base. Apart from this, AI operates on self-learning abilities that provide constant growth in task-handling capabilities in contrast to the traditional manual inputs in IVR, which impedes time management and automation.
Conversational IVR and IVA :–
The traditional IVR system uses text-to-speech (TTS) prompts to offer options to callers, which delivers static menus in robotic voices. But competition in the market and customer engagement demand better customisation of communication style. The combination of artificial intelligence, voice recognition and IVR concoct conversational IVR and Intelligent Voice Agent (IVA) technology, allowing a new wave of telecommunication service. The conversational IVR and IVA platform utilises AI to identify the caller’s intent and concern while generating relevant comments and resolutions. The voice bots in conversational IVR and IVA manage the calls as the first point of contact by handling simple customer needs automatically and forwarding the caller to a human agent for intricate issues. The collection of important information without stressful pauses, menu options, and escalation of calls for immediate issue resolution make conversational IVR one of the most adopted technologies.
Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR):–
Automatic speech recognition is the process of eliminating data input using a dedicated keypad and enabling the caller to interact with the application through their voice. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) converts the caller’s words into text or a computer command that the system can easily understand. The need for manually “pressing 1” in the keypad is eliminated through the usage of ASR. Moreover, customer experience is immensely improved with the use of ASR because the caller can perform self-service tasks and authenticate themselves before even reaching an actual agent.
Visual IVR Technology :–
One of the emergent advances in IVR is Visual IVR. This technology manipulates the web and mobile applications to transform a normal IVR into a digital IVR. For a business that wants to influence its customer base with its tech-savvy approaches, visual IVR is a boon for such organisations. Visual IVR can be of two types: video IVR and interactive display response system. Both technologies enhance self-service, where users can interact with the platform through touch or click commands on mobile or computer screens. Visual IVRs can provide better promotion of brand image and reduce the call time for your contact/ call centre.
Usage of NLP and NLU :–
Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are both parts of artificial intelligence but play a vital role in automated call centre solutions. NLP technology turns human language into more structured data. On the other hand, NLU is the applied technology where the system determines the speaker’s intention and executes the exact action required from the customer’s speech. Both NLP and NLU provide enhanced self-service potential that reduces call wait timing and human intervention.