Chris Caile’s stories

Alexa—play my ‘Please don’t put me on hold again’ playlist When they’re finally gone, will you miss those rickety, old-school IVRs? No, me neither. Most traditional IVRs deliver a pretty underwhelming customer experience—and that needs to change. Gartner is predicting that, by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service […]

While IVRs have been invaluable in reducing contact center costs, we need to be honest: not many are delivering experiences that live up to consumer expectations. It’s no surprise given the rise of digital—which led many organizations to abandon focus and investment in their IVR in favor of mobile, websites and social channels. But digital […]

The NCAA Tournament Final Four is upon us! Brackets have been busted. Office pools across the country are ruined. And that guy in accounting who picks teams based on their mascot is the only one happy. The basketball teams themselves – Michigan State, Auburn, Texas Tech, and Virginia – are excitedly preparing for their big […]

Low carb, South Beach, Atkins, paleo, and keto. Say them fast enough and it feels like you are singing the classic Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. What do they have in common? They are all variations of the same type of diet that focuses on low or no carbs and higher fat […]

Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum last month featured the theme of “Seamless customer experiences”. With a range of top-notch panelists from Amazon, USAA, Google, Schwab and many more sharing their experiences, the discussion was enlightening and informative. Below are my four key takeaways relevant for anyone trying to deliver customer experiences that provide a competitive edge: […]

Football is back and that means fantasy football leagues are in full swing. Every owner is searching for the winning combination. While each has their own strategy such as selecting players from their local team (Go Hawks!), every owner is counting on one thing – strong predictions. Analysts and pundits all try to guess which […]

Would you stand in line to talk to a bank teller if you could get your questions answered from a kiosk five feet away? No, of course not. Or how about waiting on hold for product support if the same answer was waiting for you on the company website? Only true line lovers opt to […]

The World Cup is winding down, and this weekend we’ll know if either France or Croatia will lift the cup. The tournament has captivated viewers worldwide with great goals, colorful fans, and even some interesting language. During a recent game I heard a wonderful turn of phrase by a British announcer that caused me to […]

May 1st is National Loyalty Day, which was first observed in 1921 as a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States. It’s nice for citizens to show their commitment to their country as it brings people together for a common cause. Can the same be said for businesses? How many […]

Every two years the Olympics come around and treat us to the best athletes competing and showing us what excellence means. This year it’s the winter competitors who will shine. Their talent is amazing and feats of skill breathtaking. But the best part of the story is behind the scenes. It’s their commitment to be […]

This Sunday will be the 52nd Super Bowl (that’s Super Bowl LII if you read Roman numerals) featuring the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots. Each team will focus on a couple areas to help them win – moving easily down the field to score and not turning the ball over. Both are apt […]

Develop your IVR on your own with the help of the right tooling suite

Home improvement is big business for a simple reason that every homeowner knows well – every home ALWAYS needs something done. Whether they enjoy doing the work or loathe it, there’s no getting around it – continuing maintenance is always necessary. Homeowners have a choice with every fix – do it themselves or hire professionals. […]

Working in Marketing requires us to read about what’s going on in the market. This can be challenging at times, sifting through the massive volumes of content, especially when you deal with technology that is a hot trend right now, like AI. But every now and then you stumble over great pieces like an article […]

It seems intuitive that an IVR that features a user-friendly, speech-enabled menu would deliver improved performance and customer experience over antiquated touch-tone systems. Well now we have the research to prove it. In the past year Nuance hired a third-party research firm to evaluate the IVR customer experience offered by 50 leading companies in the […]

no need to howl (or scream) at the moon with satisfying customer service

Halloween is a time of frights and scares. Zombies, goblins, witches, and monsters are let loose on the public to scare and haunt them. And a good scare is tons of fun this time of year and makes us scream in delight. Good scares get our adrenaline going. But on the flipside, bad experiences that […]

The Emmys remind us that predicting outcomes play into customer engagement

The Emmys are upon us again! The past few weeks have been a boon for those in the prediction business. Every entertainment show and website takes a stab at who will take home OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES (!). It’s not like the old days when a bet on Bryan Cranston or “Breaking […]

improving customer service and reducing costs with IVR to digital

It’s human nature to seek ways to get things done in the easiest or most convenient manner possible. We search for the shortest line at the grocery store and the fastest way to get products delivered. And while this has increasingly been happening due to a rise in cool new apps or an online experience, […]

As the number of channels that customers use to communicate with businesses continues to grow, businesses must strive to be omnichannel.

Omnichannel is a hot topic for customer service executives, and I expect that trend to continue well into the future. Why? Because customers are pushing companies in this direction. Any organization with multiple customer service channels – IVR, web, mobile, social, etc. – must consider how all these channels work together and create the right […]

City of Dallas wins an IT award with help from exceptional IVR

Congratulations to the City of Dallas for winning the Technology Solutions Award for Innovation from the Public Technology Institute (PTI)!  Last year, the City of Dallas showed how government IT can lead with innovation through their enhanced Dallas311 service line, coined Easy Speak, and that effort was recognized last week with an award in the […]

It’s time for companies to up their IVR game.

The NBA Finals are in full swing! It’s Golden State vs. Cleveland for the third time in a row. That’s remarkable and a testament to both teams’ talent and hard work. But there’s more to it. The two team leaders Steph Curry (Golden State) and LeBron James (Cleveland) take their games and their teams to […]

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 […]

In Forrester’s “2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic” report, Kate Leggett predicts that companies will be extending and enhancing self-service this year. We cannot agree more. The move to self-service is underway and has been for some time. Businesses that refuse to adopt self-service options are missing an opportunity to increase […]

Like jazz, customer service is dynamic and ever-changing. Businesses must learn to make music out of all the noise.

The film “La La Land” – which is nominated for 14 Oscars, including Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards – tells the story of a budding romance between an aspiring jazz pianist, Sebastian, and an ambitious young actress, Mia. As the movie chronicles the successes and setbacks that each experience as they try to […]

Companies must understand the technology and market trends as they strive to improve the IVR experience this year.

The new year brings the promise of fresh ideas, opportunities for change, and the commitment to work towards elusive annual goals. Many people know the feeling: while January starts with enthusiasm, reality kicks in by March and progress is sidetracked. The same holds true for business. Each year there is hope for huge new technology […]

Customers are using the IVR as an escalation channel, so when they call in, they’re already impatient and most likely frustrated.

The IVR may not grab the attention like digital channels (mobile, web), but it’s still the preferred method for consumers to resolve issues and a critical part of a company’s customer service strategy. However, far too many companies today continue to manage their IVR as a siloed channel that’s working okay and doesn’t warrant incremental […]

Conversational IVR can improve the customer experience and enhance business results.

It’s easy to spoof an IVR experience. When not properly designed, the IVR can be cumbersome and difficult to navigate, and as a result it becomes nothing more than a witty caricature. But what if many of the pre-conceived ideas consumers and businesses have about an IVR are wrong? Today, we’ll debunk 5 of these […]

Proactively reaching customers on digital channels reduces burden on the call center and increases customer satisfaction.

All businesses love their customers. Customers are what make a business run and when they have issues they will pick up the phone and engage. But sometimes companies can better help their customers – and themselves – by proactively reaching out to them before they need to call the contact center. The business gets to […]

Virtual assistants optimize the web experience, and enable customers to solve their problems themselves.

Do you call a company first when you have a question? Probably not. I know I don’t. A company’s website is the first place many of us head to when we have a question. This makes sense as research shows that people want self-service that allows them to get answers with minimal hassle. We like […]

Turn the call center into a more effective and satisfying experience for customers by empowering agents and ensuring they have all the relevant information they need.

“Please choose one of the following 4 options…” Ugh! Many people hear that and immediately know they are about to embark on an adventure through IVR menu mazes. To avoid the system and the complexities that go along with it, consumers often feel that their best option is to opt to talk to a human […]

With natural language understanding, companies can better capture caller intent and solve customer issues faster.

Despite rising customer expectations and shrinking budgets, companies are increasingly expected to deliver great customer experience in the call center. My last post introduced us to first call resolution (FCR), an increasingly popular call center metric, and outlined the cost implications of not getting it right. The rest of this series will outline four proven […]

By solving customer issues on the first attempt, businesses can improve the call center experience and reduce costs.

“I just want it done!” That’s typically the thought most people have when calling a company to address a product or service issue. I feel the same way. We don’t want to call back a second, third, or fourth time. Customers want fast, intelligent customer service, and companies that help customers resolve their issues quickly […]

We celebrate all kinds of decisions countries make on behalf of their citizens – to stay or go, or start a revolution – but companies should be evaluating and constantly making decisions that better their customer service as well.

Countries are constantly evaluating the level and value of the service they provide to their citizens. Earlier this week in the U.S., we celebrated the country’s decision to declare its independence from Great Britain 240 years ago. More recently, Britain made a decision of its own to leave the European Union. While every situation is […]

Customer experience is a prime differentiator for many organizations. Many products and services are becoming commoditized and today, the experience a company provides can set them apart. This was recently showcased in the Temkin report on Experience Ratings which highlighted companies and industries at the top and bottom of the customer experience spectrum and considered […]

The Warriors three-point shots revolutionized basketball strategy in the same way as conversational IVR revolutionized the call center experience.

A recent profile in the Wall Street Journal shows how the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors ­– for many years a league doormat – used statistical analysis to determine its traditional strategy of working all of the 24-second shot clock for a chance close to the basket (“down in the paint” in basketball parlance) was […]

You don’t have to be a magician to increase customer satisfaction while decreasing costs, trying to meet and measure three key IVR KPIs.

If you manage – or ever even touch – your company’s IVR, you know the ‘classic three’ KPIs: misroutes, call containment, and first call resolution (FCR). Nearly every contact center executive depends on them, as they have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and controlling costs. But what’s the relationship between the three and how […]

With high call volume and increasing customer expectations, companies must ensure their technology solutions meet customer needs.

If you’re a consumer electronics company, life isn’t always easy. From callers checking their order status and rescheduling installations, to customers inquiring about member rewards or tech support, those companies’ IVRs have a lot to handle. With so many customers and demands, one leading electronics retailer is tasked with managing more than 1.8 million calls […]

Basketball teams aren’t the only ones caught in a winner takes all tournament – your company’s IVR is in the same situation.

The Madness is upon us! Brackets are set. Teams seeded. Office pools across the country are buzzing with predictions. The basketball teams themselves are preparing for the long road to the Final Four in Houston in early April. For some teams the journey will be difficult; for others it will be easier. Either way all […]

Companies need to tune up their IVR just like they would their car to ensure technology and choices are up-to-date and routing callers in the right direction.

In my prior two posts we covered the need for companies to build IVR experiences as easy and effective as the GPS on our phones and how companies need to better understand who the customer is and what they are trying to accomplish. Let’s drive through the final two strategies Nuance has identified to improve […]

Put customers in the driver’s seat using speech technology to reduce misroutes and improve the call center experience.

My previous post outlined the challenge of misroutes and the need for companies to build IVR experiences for their customers which are as easy and effective as the GPS on our phones. To assist with this, Nuance identified five-steps to help reduce misroutes. Now let’s continue to unfold the roadmap to see what the next […]

Interactive Voice Response systems should avoid misroutes by giving clear directions so callers don’t get lost in a phone menu or taken to the wrong location.

It’s difficult to get lost anymore when we leave our homes. GPS systems are so sophisticated they know where we are going, how long it will take to get there, and which roads to avoid due to traffic. GPS systems also know which streets we should not go down because they are dead ends. Many […]