"Having your IVR send a link to online self-service is good CX"
Using your IVR as website voice control
January 27, 2020
The headline is a bit of a stretch, but it is one way to look at the possibilities when guiding calling customers from the IVR to online self-service. The benefits are faster help for the customer and less manual work for you.
The key to success is precision, accuracy and simplicity. This is achieved through a good understanding of the customer’s need or intent and high quality services to guide to.
In practice, it is a matter of quickly interpreting the customer’s reason for calling in the IVR and offer to send an SMS with a direct link to a digital service that solves the identified issue. Usually the destination is a web service, but app or chat may work. Let’s illustrate with a simple example.
In addition to an improved customer experience, potentially increased availability and positive effect on call volumes, there may also be internal benefits.
One is that it opens for working across the organization, taking a holistic approach to the customer experience. Web and telephony / customer service must work together to create shared flows and direct users to the channels where issues are resolved quickly and smoothly.
Another potential benefit is that you may reduce the need for overlapping services (and associated maintenance), one in the IVR and one on your web site.
Relating back to the title of this post, you can also see this as a move towards dissolving the channel concept. Regardless of how the customer makes contact, he or she is guided to the service or competence that most quickly solves his/her issue. IVR as a way of using voice commands for navigating the web is a step in that direction.
Our expert advice for guiding from IVR to digital self-service
Alf Bergstrand is technical project manager and has long experience of IVR, free speech and hybrid solutions with both telephony and digital channels. He summarizes his best advice for guiding from voice to digital in the list below.
- Top priority is to make sure the service you link to really solves the customer’s specific issue. It is not enough to link to general information or the front page of a support portal that the customer needs to navigate. if the customer has to call again and then all trust is lost. Test your service carefully, both in desktop and mobile, before deployment and follow up constantly when it’s live (see point 3 below).
- Make the redirection an offer and explain clearly what it means. It may well be that the customer wants to talk to someone or can’t use a web service and then of course you should respect it (and definitely avoid repetitions).
The offer can be made in two ways; send the SMS with a link and then explain what you did and why. Alternatively, first ask if the customer wants an SMS with a link to self-service. Which to use is a matter of taste and you may try both and evaluate the success rate.
- To ensure that your flow complies with the first point above, it is important that you have analytics all the way from start of call to the completion of the issue in the self-service, or if there is a repeated call to customer service. A key component here is that the link sent in SMS is unique and can be tied to the individual call and traced in analytics.
- Be clear in the communication about what happens during the conversation and why. Help customers understand what options they have. If they get a surprise SMS without explanation, it will likely be more of an annoyance, or go unnoticed altogether.
- Start small. You can choose a specific case type where you know you have a well-functioning digital service. From there, you can expand and allow more issues identified in the answering service to be offered as self-service online. It is possible to do with DTMF menus but the possibilities are greater with a free speech IVR because it allows more fine-grained identification of case types.
In a hurry? This post in five seconds!
- Offering calling customers an SMS with a link to a digital service that solves their identified issue is good service
- To succeed, you need to know customer needs and have appropriate services online to guide to
- It is also important to be able to track and analyze flows to see that they really work as intended
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