How to hit a customer service home run

Baseball season is known for many things: late game heroics, big plays, and good times at the ballpark. Yet one of the most memorable parts of attending a baseball game is a universal feeling that all players and spectators alike share – anticipation that anything can happen with the next pitch. And just like baseball players need to constantly anticipate what’s coming next, businesses must anticipate customer behaviors. But with customer expectations changing all the time, how can a company hit a customer service home run? For one leading airline organization, the solution was simple – conversational IVR.
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Businesses can streamline customer service with the help of conversational IVR.

It’s that time of year again – one known for roasted peanuts and hot dogs, seventh-inning stretches and freshly cut fields. That’s right, it’s baseball season. Whether you’re a player or a spectator, there’s one common experience shared between everyone in the stadium: the feeling of anticipation. Batters learn to anticipate various pitches, fielders prepare to catch any ball and make the out, and spectators anxiously await the next big play.

Just like all the participants in baseball game must learn to anticipate what’s next, businesses must do the same when it comes to its customers. How can companies best prepare for any curveballs customers may throw? With the help of a conversational IVR, a leading airline, Delta, hit a home run with customer service.

Delta is one of our longest standing customers and serves more than 160 million customers each year. The airline faced a big challenge with its outbound communications and inbound IVR. The outbound alerts were only one-way communications, meaning if any of those notifications resulted in an inbound call, the customers had more context than Delta’s reservation specialists. Because the specialists did not have previous knowledge of the outbound alerts, customers would need to repeat themselves and provide the context to help inform the reservation agent’s service, which can be frustrating for the customer.

Enter conversational IVR. By upgrading and integrating its IVR with outbound communication, Delta knew it could significantly improve the customer experience and reduce the time customers spent interacting with the IVR. The airline worked with Nuance to create an integrated call steering solution, which helps create a powerful, end-to-end customer self-service solution. So now, not only did the airline have that outbound notification going to the customer but they also updated to a new IVR system using Natural Language Understanding that could provide customers the answers they need quickly by gathering necessary information to forward the call to the correct specialist. This allowed Delta to meet customer requests seamlessly. Thanks to the implementation of a conversational IVR, Delta has nearly 200 caller tags that allow specialists to know why a customer is calling and thus enabling the agent to solve the customer’s situation faster and easier.

With a more integrated IVR system, the results of this implementation exceeded Delta’s expectations. The organization aimed to meet a containment rate of 3% — but with conversational IVR, the airline achieved a 5.1% containment rate, thus earning the company $3 million in savings in the first year alone.

Not only were business streams simplified, but customer satisfaction increased. With the new integrated IVR solution, the number of callers asking to bypass the IVR dropped to below 10%, compared to an industry average 40% of people who transfer to an agent if there’s not a first-level menu choice that matches their needs.

Although businesses cannot always know what to expect when thrown a customer service curveball, equipping customer-facing systems with conversational IVR not only improves your customer satisfaction average – it increases your chances of hitting a customer service home run.

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Chris Caile

About Chris Caile

Chris Caile joined Nuance in September 2015 as senior solutions marketing manager for Nuance Conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Before joining Nuance, Caile worked in various marketing and sales support positions at Microsoft and Motorola and has over 20 years of experience in the high tech industry. Caile holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University with minors in mathematics and economics.