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Visual IVR: Satisfaction at first sight

With the pervasiveness of web-enabled smartphones, IVRs are finally getting with the times and starting to leverage the power these devices have over their many predecessors. Visual IVR is one of a small handful of technologies which have begun to tap into this potential.
Combining visual elements to speech-enabled IVR technology provides a more effective and efficient customer experience.

As a society, the way we consume information is different than it was even just a few years ago. With 77% of Americans now owning a smartphone, it’s hard to overstate the pervasiveness of mobile devices. Nearly everyone has one. We, of course, use these devices in our personal lives – to read news, order pizzas, communicate with friends, and everything in between. But increasingly, people are using same smartphones for business interactions. Customers want – and expect – to be able to use these devices that they constantly have at their sides to communicate with companies and accomplish key tasks. So, if nearly everyone has a smartphone, are businesses adequately tapping into its capabilities?

The short answer is: There’s probably a lot more businesses could be doing to leverage smartphone technology and meet customers’ rising expectations. For example, one thing companies can do is implement visual IVR (VIVR). VIVR integrates the visual display of mobile devices with speech-enabled IVRs. Interleaving two interaction modalities richens the customer experience, making service processes more efficient and effective. Though this is a great option for many enterprises, most still don’t know how VIVR works. So, let’s take a deeper look at what this technology is and why it matters.


What is Visual IVR?

Perhaps one way to think of VIVR is as a cross-channel experience which takes the task of searching a page or filling out a form out of an agent’s hands and puts it (literally) into the caller’s. One of VIVR’s primary features is that it allows for long or complicated tasks, such as browsing recent transactions and then opening a dispute for one, to be collapsed down onto the more user-friendly dimensions of the caller’s screen. Another key feature of VIVR is that it allows for the collection or display of long character sequences, such as tracking numbers or email addresses. By allowing these longer and more complex items to be seen on a customer’s mobile screen, it allows for a more efficient and effective self-service experience.


How does it work?

At its simplest, a customer calls in and goes through the normal experience of authenticating in the IVR. But instead of automatically ending up in speech or DTMF driven self-service, the customer is offered the opportunity to use their web-enabled smartphone instead. After a quick text message and a click later, the customer is dropped into a mobile webpage – already logged in and with some of their task potentially completed. The customer is then able to take control and guide herself the rest of the way to fulfill her call reason. Of course, the IVR doesn’t just abandon the caller, but instead it waits patiently by for either the caller to hang up having gotten what they called for, or re-engage should an issue arise.


What are the benefits of VIVR?

Most notably, customers may be able to self-serve effectively for tasks which are not well-suited to the IVR. Additionally, tasks a caller might otherwise perform acceptably in the IVR may be made more efficient and even enjoyable as compared to their speech-only IVR counterparts. Finally, once on the mobile site, customers may be more easily opted into potentially installing the company’s mobile app or selecting additional services or features to add to their account. The net result of this may not only be less reliance on reaching an agent for support, but customers may be more willing to play along in the IVR with future contact or even seek out support through other channels before even picking up the phone.

Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives. Why not tap into its capabilities?

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Miles Munro

About Miles Munro

Miles Munro is a Senior User Interface Designer at Nuance Communications. He has worked on many English and Multilingual applications in healthcare, financial, and other verticals. Miles draws on his extensive training and experience in Cognitive Sciences and Human Factors to ensure an efficient and enjoyable user-driven design.