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Want to offer great customer service? Be like Steph and LeBron

It’s that time of year again – the NBA Finals! But it’s more than entertainment. Businesses should take a few lessons from the playbooks of Steph Curry and LeBron James to up their IVR game.
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 higher levels by utilizing three principles critical for NBA success. These principles also apply to customer service leaders looking to take their game – particularly their IVR game – to the top.


Know your opponent

Think LeBron James doesn’t know which way Steph prefers to dribble off a pick? No chance. Both players know the strengths and weaknesses of the other in detail and use that insight to put them in the best position to score or defend. Good customer service leaders must do the same. They must know as many customer details as possible to set themselves up for success. Does a particular customer prefer to call each week on Monday? Does your IVR know they are calling from a mobile phone? It all starts with data, analysis, and reporting. Strong IVR reporting capabilities create opportunities to understand who’s calling, why, and where the IVR is underperforming. Deep knowledge puts companies in the best position possible to offer the most personalized customer experience.


Create a plan

How can Steph and the Warriors stop LeBron? Even knowing which side of the floor he prefers and his 3-point shooting range, he’s still an excellent player. He won’t do things exactly the same each time. The coaches must devise a game plan to be ready for whatever he brings.

Can your company’s IVR handle whatever comes its way? What’s the plan to handle complicated questions? Can it understand someone speaking in a foreign language? Or what if they just keep pressing ‘0’ every time to get to the agent? If the plan is to make someone “Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Service,” then callers will increasingly skip it and you won’t be winning any awards. Plan a thoughtful approach to why people call and consider implementing a natural language based conversational IVR that helps meet customer needs – no matter what they bring. A conversational IVR with natural language understanding allows your callers to say whatever they want and the system is intelligent enough to understand and take the right next step.


Execute efficiently

At tip-off everything changes. Now it’s time to execute. When the ball is stolen from the Cavaliers, plans are great, but Kevin Durant needs to run the floor fast and make a precision pass to Steph Curry for the shot. This is the payoff to the preparation and planning.

Today, right now, is your IVR executing efficiently? Are your customers getting the service they expect?  Are you hitting your containment and automation rates? If not, what will it take to raise the bar? There are so many IVR innovations available today. If you’ve already moved to a natural language based IVR then it starts simply with tuning the existing experience to deliver the right performance. Or consider enhancing your customer’s call with biometric based greeting that authenticates callers based purely on their voice. It’s a solution that promises to delight callers while greatly improving security and reducing fraud. Or take it to the ultimate level and create a transition as smooth as a Durant to Curry bounce pass by handing off IVR calls to your digital channels. Sometimes shifting callers to the web or virtual assistant is better for them and less expensive for the organization.

Whatever situation your IVR is in, adopting the principles that make Steph Curry and LeBron James great will also elevate your service game. And be a slam dunk with your customers.

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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.