Voice & IVR

Keto or Atkins? IVR or Voice bots?

Voice is everywhere now thanks to its increased usage in our homes, cars, and TVs. This renewed interest is leading many people to come up with new words or phrases to describe similar technologies. From IVR to voice channel to voice bots or even voice assistants, no matter what you call it, voice-enabled customer service solutions are really very similar. Each requires strong speech recognition technology, good natural language understanding, and, finally, amazing designers to help bring the experience to life. And, oh yeah, Nuance can handle them all.

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 intake. Trends come and go, and people will always rush to the shiny new thing. Keto is the hot trend now in dieting, but is it that different from the paleo or Atkins diets? Oh, sure, purists will email me with differences, but essentially they are offshoots of the same formula.

IVR, voice channel, voice bots, voice assistants. While these may not sound as cool as diets, these terms also have a lot in common. They are all variations for customer service solutions that feature speech. And, just like in diets, trends come and go in technology. Voice is everywhere now, thanks to its increased usage in our homes, cars, and TVs. I even saw a new mirror you can talk to. This renewed interest in voice has led many people to adopt new words for how customer service channels handle speech.

The traditional “IVR” (Interactive Voice Response) channel seems outdated and stodgy to some folks. They prefer to call it a “voice assistant” or even a “voice virtual assistant”. And if you interact via speech on the web or mobile device, you may talk to a “voice bot”. Some people are asking Nuance to help them build a voice bot for customers who call them. They prefer the term voice bot instead of IVR because it conveys a more modern approach. It is after all an automated speech recognition engine.

We don’t know what the next hot term will be for these types of solutions, and it doesn’t matter. Yet one thing will remain constant: no matter what you call it, all speech-enabled solutions have similar characteristics:

  • Strong automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology – You can’t have a functioning speech-enabled TV if it can’t understand what you are requesting. Same with the IVR. Callers get frustrated when the technology doesn’t accurately pick up what they are saying.
  • Strong natural language skills – Delivering great customer service through a voice bot, IVR, or voice assistant means being able to not just recognize what is said, but to interpret the customer’s intent and have a two-way dialog to help resolve the issue.
  • Strong conversational design – It’s professional designers with experience in customer service solutions that make a great customer experience. The best and most natural voice experiences in the IVR or through the car or TV are created by people who know the power of good voice design.

And there is one other thing that will remain constant when it comes to voice technologies – Nuance can help with them all. With over 20 years’ experience working on speech and delivering real-world speech solutions for some of the world’s largest brands, we’ve got you covered no matter the name. So bring us your voice bots, voice assistants, and, yes, your IVR. Your keto diet is on you, however.

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