Thanks to the millennials era, advanced solutions like live chat & text messages have been leaping a preferred channel for customer service or support. This has been a common concern among the customer experience and service professionals about voice channels fading away from the contact centers.
As per the research done by CFI Group, more than 76% of all consumers prefer the traditional medium of phone calls to reach customer support representatives.
Though, calling or IVRs has always been the most preferred choice for customers regarding quick support. As an undeniable fact, IVR systems have ruled the customer service arena for over a decade.
Customers will prefer using speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service interactions by 2023 when compared to 40% in 2019
During the last decade, IVRs have developed and evolved into a significant tool to meet customer needs & solve the challenges of numerous contact centers across the globe. However, being an expensive option to implement and with extensive training to operate, it still proves its leadership with other competitive options.
Now, before we discuss why and how organizations are moving toward voice bots from traditional IVRs, let’s deep dive into what IVR and voice bots are and how they got popular in the past.
What is IVR?
IVR, also known as Interactive voice response, acts as an automated phone system with call diversion capabilities. In simpler terms, a technologically advanced tool enables customers to interact with an automated system before directing it to an executive or a team dedicated to a precise issue.
In a more detailed way, the IVR system works in the following manner.
Customer calls the organization> IVR system responds with few options like Menu, FAQ or Contact the representative > and, if required, connects you with a human.
With its origin back in 90, an organization successfully produced a human voice for the first time in history. This helped technology replicate the human voice and paved the way for IVRs to leverage this for customer support and services.
IVR helps companies collect the right information about the customers and their requests before human intervention. Customers are presented with a pre-recorded human voice as they call, which further navigates the customer to a menu for them to relate to and understand better. As a result, a tailored conversion is much faster and easier for customer care executives to handle and solve further.
IVR solutions have been popular in saving time and money for organizations by trimming calls, requiring less human intervention, and delivering a better user experience. So isn’t this a win-win for both companies and customers?
Here are a few quick benefits of IVR and why it has been companies’ favorite:
Customers are 2.4x more likely to keep doing business with a brand if they receive prompt or quick support with their problems
1. Enhances Brand Image
Maintaining branding has always been a priority for organizations across the world. IVR has always been a first step to enhancing the customer experience with an auto attendant that welcomes and greets you in the most polite way possible. This helps companies improve the brand image before a customer reaches and speaks with an actual customer representative.
2. Automates Customer Support
Companies have been leveraging IVR solutions for customized and streamlined customer experience. With this, an automated attendant is essential in assuring customers speak to someone without getting a busy connection. Also, a customer can choose their path based on the issues they are facing, which saves their time and enhances their experience with the organization.
67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative.
3. Enhances Customer Journey
IVRs have enhanced the customer journey in the best possible ways for a decade. IVRs are an around-the-clock (24x7x365) approach to customer service, which (if well crafted) allow companies to reduce customer frustration by switching quickly between IVR and humans. IVRs further provide effective customer support and reflect the organization’s brand value. It also allows for prioritizing callers based on their history with the organization.
What is Voicebot?
A voice bot is an automated conversational system that can speak like a human, understand, interpret and analyze customers’ requests and respond to them like a human with familiar words. Based on AI (artificial intelligence), voice bots can understand and analyze human language based on conversations and intentions.
Some examples of voicebots are home assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.
A few features of voice bots for brands to set them apart from any other option available are:
1. Enhanced Customer Support
Customer support via voice bot is more customer-centric and scalable as it gives users a chance to communicate better and resolve queries faster. In addition, voice bots (numerous times) have been proven to handle complex scenarios in customer support as a replacement for human interaction.
This is why the voice bot has taken the game of customer support to an elevated level. 51% of consumers aged 14-17 said they’ve already interacted with a speech or voice recognition interface or device.
2. 24*7 Accessibility
For brands across the globe, voice bots are providing an added advantage in terms of customer support by helping customers prevent typing a request to the brand, interacting with customers in real-time, and with little to no downtime.
As a result, brands now provide extensive customer support at any given point in time. This further reduces the cost of putting up a team of customer service agents to support customers via emails, chat or call 24X7.
3. Personalized Customer Relationship
Voice bots can reply and provide hyper-personalized support to the customers based on previous data like customer experience details, feedback, and requirement. This can lead to a more positive and personalized customer support interaction and can get more accurate and precise answers in a quick time.
How do Voicebots Score Better than IVRs?
“IVR systems are evolving from dumb menu systems into smart ‘voice bots’ capable of handling complex customer queries”
– McKinsey & Company
Brands have been on their toes to improvise customer experience and journey with them, making them think, ‘How can I understand my customer challenges in a few words?’. This new way of thinking led companies to opt for sophisticated technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) and make voice bots to drive their army of customer support. With this, all the challenges and issues brands & contact centers faced with IVT vanished too.
Navigating IVRs is a tedious task for customers while trying to convey and resolve their challenges with a brand. From pressing the wrong key to reaching a dead end or getting confused and disconnecting the call, customers have already suffered a lot while trying their hands on IVR.
So what could be better for brands than a customer enjoying his experience while passing through the customer support center?
By preventing customers from waiting to press an appropriate button on IVR, the voice bot can help them with a more efficient solution by just stating their reason for calling. Voicebot can understand the intent and initiate the process for customers to enjoy a smoother experience by directing them to an appropriate human agent. With IVR, this feasibility was not possible.
Enclosed are a few points wherein Voice bots score better than IVRs:
AI-powered voice bots can be scaled to complex level use cases with over 90% automation rate for customer support. However, IVRs are not more scalable as compared to IVRs.
2. Customer Intent
Voice Bots can process multiple customer intents simultaneously and enhance customer support or customer experience. Whereas traditional IVRs can process one customer intent at a time.
3. Personalized Touch
Personalization is one of the primary reasons brands switch from IVRs to voice bots. Voice bots can process hyper-personalized responses for a customer based on their previous history or data
The Shift from IVR to Voicebots
IVR still has a lot of preferences from companies around the world, but voice bot adoption has been a trend, and many companies and government organizations are already starting to roll out voicebots while retiring their traditional IVR systems.
With technological advancements, voice bots have been on the verge of ruling the customer support systems. In the near future, when speech will take over as the primary method of communication, i.e., text, expect voice bot technology to capture the complete IVR market too.
With numerous benefits, organizations across the globe are upgrading their contact centers from traditional IVRs to conversational AI bots. This will be a win-win for both organizations and customers as it helps decrease support costs and enhances customer satisfaction rate, which further leads to business growth.
Whereas for customers, it helps reduce wait time and provides quick support and query resolution with an advanced self-service option.
With traditional ways of customer support like IVR, customer experience may go for a toss. Nowadays, Companies have started opting for better and more innovative solutions like conversational AI bots. Contact centers are leveraging Voice bots to gain an accurate understanding of what customers want from them. This further help the Customer experience team in driving solutions to critical problems and solving complex customer problems.