Put your customers in the driver seat to reduce misroutes

Today’s GPS systems are a driver’s best friend, providing directions to where people need to go with pinpoint accuracy. However, today’s consumers don’t often have the same experience with a company’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Frustrated callers end up in the wrong department, stuck in a phone menu maze, or try to avoid the system altogether by asking for a human being. Misroutes are the culprit. In part two of this three part series, we continue on the road towards reducing misroutes by taking a look at how to use speech technology and small data to help call center executives improve call routing and hit key IVR metrics.
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 two steps are on the journey.


Step 2: Let callers lead the way

After we get into our car and input our destination in the GPS, we let the system take over. It responds to our desired end point and calculates the best way to go – faster and with less effort than anything we can do on our own.

Today’s consumers also want fast results for customer service and don’t want to exert a lot of effort to address issues or find answers. Reducing their effort pays off. According to Forrester Research and the Harvard Business Review, “delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort – the work they must do to get their problems solved – does.”

When we drive, the GPS is the ultimate effort reducer. Yet when it comes to the IVR, old fashioned touch-tone technologies force customers to expend more effort. Complex, hard-to-navigate menu mazes frustrate callers who get lost in menus, are re-routed multiple times, or worse – zero out to an agent. It’s akin to using the printed maps of the past.

Callers know what they want before they pick up the phone. They want to pay a bill, ask about a prescription, or check on a claim. But some IVRs make it challenging to get the desired result. The secret lies in letting callers lead the way to their destination through a speech-enabled IVR.

We see speech playing an increasingly important role in how people interact with technology: phones, cars, TVs, refrigerators, and more. And speech is the medium to drive fast answers. There are two kinds of speech enabled IVR systems – Directed Dialog and Natural Language Understanding-based or “Conversational IVR”.

Both have their uses but a Conversational IVR built on Natural Language Understanding offers the highest form of customer experience and the greatest chance to increase accuracy and reduce errors.  When you let callers speak naturally in their own words (such as “I need to pay my credit card bill”) you are letting them lead the way to their desired destination – increasing accuracy, decreasing effort, and reducing likelihood of misroutes.


Step 3: Anticipate needs with “small data”

You can hardly read anything nowadays without being bombarded with “big data” and the overwhelming amount of information humans generate. Many companies hope to use that data to better predict behavior patterns and sell more products; it’s even been touted as a way to create better customer experiences and improve service. Sounds interesting but it may be like using a GPS to walk 100 yards to a neighbor’s house – too much power and overly engineered for the goal.

Consider instead how “small data” you already have – like a customer’s phone number or recent interactions – can easily improve a caller’s experience with the IVR and reduce misroutes. Nuance discovered that by capturing only five to 10 – key data points specific to a customer, companies can anticipate with high accuracy why customers are calling and route them faster to the answer they need.

How Delta anticipates caller needs

Delta Air Lines’ legacy IVR identified callers by asking for their SkyMiles number, which few callers knew. By connecting several systems, including loyalty, billing and the IVR, Delta now harnesses data to speed interactions. Using automatic number identification (ANI) to match phone numbers already in other systems, its IVR now automatically locates the loyalty record and has increased the data capture rate more than 50 percent (from 29 percent to 75 percent)!

This move by Delta to modernize its IVR and use small data reduced misroutes by 15 percent, dramatically improved the customer experience, and helped them win Airline of the Year for best airline customer service in 2014. How can you take the wheel – like Delta – to improve the road ahead for your customers?

Be on the lookout for the final two steps to reduce misroutes and modernize the call center.  Or if you can’t wait until then, download the five-step guide to see more about how Nuance helps companies create smooth, GPS-like experiences that route customers to their ideal destination.

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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.