How Conversational IVR Is Rapidly Transforming Service Desks and Customer Services

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral part of modern digital enterprises, and service desks and customer services are no exception. Although AI can improve all parts of a business operation when done well, it’s arguably the most important when it comes to Service Desks and Customer Services. They represent the direct link to employees and customers as well as a forward-facing representation of the company and its brand.

conversational IVR

Traditional Interactive Voice Response Systems Are Aging Poorly

For many years, Service Desks and Customer Services relied on Interactive Voice Response Systems, also known as IVRs, to front-end manage end-user requests. IVRs are rule-based systems that use Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) to respond to either speech, using Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), or touch-tone.

You’ve probably come in contact with an IVR system before if you called a business or company and you were prompted with something like “Hello and thank you for calling [COMPANY NAME]. If you know the extension of the person you wish to reach, please enter it now. To speak with the operator, press 0 at any time. For Sales, press 1. For Technical Support, press 2. For Billing, press 3. For information about our company, press 4. To Repeat this message, press pound.” Because there is no limitation to the number of user inquiries IVR systems can respond, enterprises have used them to scale their service desk and customer services. However, according to the 2018 CFI Contact Center Satisfaction Index, 88% of users who reach an IVR end up talking to a live agent to resolve their issues. So, while IVR systems gave the impression of scaling the Service Desk based on the large number of incoming requests they could front-facing, they have proved not to be effective to actually scale the Service Desk which means reduce the actual volume of requests which require service agents’ attention.

The unlimited scalability promised is actually limited and bound by the number of service agents on staff. Even worse is the experience perceived by users who are guard-railed throughout the IVR menu selection process which concludes most of the time with the users put on-hold awaiting to be connected with a live agent. This creates a terrible customer experience. Unnecessary extra steps in the customer journey, no personalization and engagement in experiences, no self-resolution, and very long resolution times.

An Increased Demand for Personalized Self-Service

Nowadays, users are becoming more digitally connected than ever. They expect from Service Desks and Customer Services the same level of experiences typically available in the consumer space. Users want to engage with Service Desks and Customer Services through self-service automation with 24x7x365 availability, accessibility with the device and channel of their choice — being email, chat, text or voice. This encompasses the power of technology that truly understands human language and allows users to freely express themselves as if they were directly in conversation with live agents.

Users demand technology that provides a high degree of dialogue personalization, capabilities of identifying and presenting accurate information, and the ability to direct users to the optimal next step quickly. They seek technology that can read the user sentiment and state-of-mind and self-adapt to deliver an immersive and engaging experience to users. This technology is available now and it is known as Conversational IVR or Conversational AI Virtual Assistants.

Conversational IVR is The Future of Automation

Conversational IVRs are radically transforming Service Desks and Customer Services. They are shifting the traditional IVR systems focus of containing and deflecting users to the mindset of user-centric, immersive engagement and personalization, and effective and rapid self-serving automation. This ultimately creates a modern customer experience long-awaited by millennium users. With Conversational IVR systems, the end-to-end user process of engagement to resolution is completely automated and streamlined.

Conversational IVR systems provide a true omnichannel experience. Users can initiate a conversation on one channel and finish the task on another channel. Users can even depart from the system when choosing to be notified upon the completion of the requested task. As a result, users are no longer forced to the single-channel experience offered by traditional IVRs but rather are empowered to dynamically move across channels as they desire. This allows them the ability to move without the system ever losing state of what the user asked and/or status of the corresponding resolution. Conversational IVR systems use advanced NLP/NLU models capable of deeply understanding human language. Users have more freedom in interactions using phrases and utterances of their choice rather than being stuck with a small set of pre-canned user questions or menu-driven options selection offered by IVRs.

Understand and Resolve User Requests Autonomously

The new level of interaction with users feels more fluid, natural and intelligent. Furthermore, Conversational IVRs provide a high degree of integration with back-office systems and capabilities being Ticketing Systems, Knowledge Systems, IAM/SSO systems, Alerts systems or custom applications. This enables Conversational IVR systems to be extremely effective not only in understanding user requests or issues but also capable to autonomously resolve — without the need to escalate to a live agent even for more complex issues — using Conversational AI and Conversational RPA technologies. Start to end in just a handful of seconds!

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Service Desks and Customer Services need to modernize their user front-facing technologies to meet the expectations of users in the digital age. Organizations that fail to adapt to the latest trends often find themselves left behind as their competition continues to advance– don’t let this be you. Your Service Desk and Customer Services need to modernize with Conversational IVR.

Aisera offers the most feature-comprehensive and technology-advanced Conversational IVR solution for self-service automation in the market which blends AI Virtual Assistant technology, Conversational AI (cognitive search) and Conversational RPA into one SaaS cloud offer for IT Service Desk and Customer Services. Aisera proprietary unsupervised NLP/NLU technology, User Behavioral Intelligence and Sentiment Analytics are protected by several patents-pending applications.

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