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How virtual assistants complement the IVR and enable first call resolution success

Most customers today visit a company’s website before picking up the phone. They increasingly expect to find answers to their problems online. But if they don’t, consumers flood the contact center with calls, creating a challenge for first call resolution. In the fourth installment of our blog series devoted to enhancing first call resolution, Chris Caile outlines how companies that combine a strong website with a virtual assistant greatly improve customer satisfaction.
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 to do it ourselves! As such, the IVR is no longer the stand-alone channel for customer service nor the default source of help.

While this shift may seem like good news for the IVR and call reduction, that’s not always the case. Many consumers can’t find what they need on the web despite stacks and stacks of information. And when they can’t find the information they seek, they turn to the contact center. To counter this, and in order to provide the best overall customer service experience, it’s imperative companies align service channels and ensure their websites complement the IVR.


Fix-it Initiative #3 – Optimize your multi-channel customer experience

When customers call the contact center after not being able to find what they want on the website they are likely to be agitated and frustrated. By enabling customers to help themselves online, companies can reduce call volumes in the contact center and improve chances for first call resolution – while making customers happier and allowing agents more time with customers who truly need it.


Introducing a new way to improve web self-service

There are many initiatives designed to improve the web experience, from improving site design and search capabilities to adding a web chat feature. But the modern, future-forward approach is to utilize a virtual assistant. You’ve seen them pop up on various websites. Intelligent virtual assistants are accurate, fast, and help to streamline the customer experience not only online, but also when customers need to speak with a live agent either via chat or by phone. The best virtual assistants deliver on three fronts: Speed, Accuracy, and Containment.

  • Speed – Customers can ask the virtual assistant anything, saving consumers time hunting through the website for information.
  • Accuracy – Due to advances in natural language understanding, today’s virtual assistants understand what the person is looking for and can deliver the same level of fast service as a live agent.
  • Containment – Great virtual assistants solve customer issues and keep them out of the call center, freeing up agent time to focus on harder-to-solve calls.

One Nuance customer, Windstream Communications, implemented a virtual assistant on their website and saw benefits extend to their call center and agents: Chris Caile FCR Series Part 4

Adding virtual assistants greatly improves the customer experience and helps consumers either refine their question or avoid calling all together – both of which drive increases in first call resolution success. Companies that seize this and take a holistic approach to their customer service channels, like Windstream, can drive synergies with their IVR and see benefits they didn’t expect. Stay tuned for the final first call resolution initiative in coming weeks!

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Four Strategies for Improving First Call Resolution

First Call Resolution is a key contact center metric that serves as a guidepost for gauging operational performance and improving customer satisfaction. But it’s also one of the most difficult to properly evaluate and improve. Here are four strategies that can help.

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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.