The Future of Conversational IVR Systems

Ever since their introduction about 50 years ago, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have served as a front-end interface for numerous customer support applications. These span various sectors, including banking, healthcare, and insurance, increasingly integrating conversational AI to enhance user interaction and service efficiency.

As a result, consumers are often familiar with these clunky interfaces, where they are dragged along through a scripted, unnatural decision tree to reach a possible answer. What’s frustrating is that even after all this, sometimes the pre-defined answers don’t satisfy the original question, forcing the customer to wait even longer for a live agent.

Over the years, customers have figured this out and often try to bypass this by dialing the operator directly, leading organizations to observe high escalation rates within their IVR channel. It’s clear that there are many issues with today’s IVR systems. Still, given its prominence, it’s also likely that it will continue to remain a support channel for many enterprise organizations. So the ultimate question is: 

How should organizations plan to bring their IVR solutions into the modern era?

In today’s ever-changing world, it’s only a matter of time before new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offer solutions to keep up with the increasing competition and rising expectations of consumers.

Successful companies in today’s world recognize that it is vital to maintain customer satisfaction throughout the entire customer journey, from when they initially purchase to when they need help troubleshooting or getting the most value from their solution. And that’s where Conversational IVR comes into the picture.

Conversational IVR promises a new future where companies can provide scalable and dynamic customer support while consumers get the instant help they desire. A Conversational IVR solution starts with a user’s question and finds the most relevant answer effortlessly and instantly. These early-adopter organizations that prioritize customer satisfaction and engagement with Conversational IVR will have a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

So, what does a Conversational IVR solution consist of? There are many features and functions that comprise the full experience, but these capabilities can be summarized in four critical pillars that are the key to any advanced Conversational IVR solution.

Pillar 1: Advanced Authentication

At the heart of any Conversational IVR solution is the ability to properly authenticate their users. Whether it’s leveraging the native authentication mechanism of the IVR platform like Genesys or NICEInContact, implementing Knowledge-Based Authentication, or Multi-Factor Authentication, making sure your user is in fact who they say they are is an essential capability to prevent fraud and ensure your IVR system is secure.

Moreover, it also allows the ability to offer personalized service and customize the AI Voice Bot responses to the user based on their account information and previous interactions with the bot

Pillar 2: State-of-the-art AI and RPA

This is the magic of Conversational IVR. The secret here includes Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understanding (NLU) key intents and entities across interactions, the ability to switch context and change topics seamlessly, and state-of-the-art performance in Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) to handle free-form audio input, much like humans. 

More importantly, however, IVR can support the diverse array of customer queries that come in from your customer base. Not only does Aisera come out of the box with over 5 billion intents and 1 trillion phrases to solve this exact issue, but Aisera is also able to autonomously deliver the most accurate response to users, whether that’s a knowledge article or walk them through a workflow.

A Conversational IVR that can tap into both knowledge and execute actions in the backend leads to a higher resolution rate and better experiences for your customers.

Pillar 3: Live Agent Handoff

The reality of customer support and using Conversational IVR is that a typical “voice bot” will not be able to handle every question that comes through. That’s why a Conversational IVR system must be able to transfer to live agents. The most advanced solutions can provide the live agent with the full context of the conversation thus far, including prior history and previous interactions, to provide the optimal experience for customers. 

Furthermore, advanced Conversational IVR solutions can handle bi-directional live agent handoff. What exactly does that mean? This functionality allows Conversational IVR to play multiple roles – either as the first line of defense for your IVR system or as a backup virtual agent in case all other agents are occupied. It’s no surprise that a Conversational Virtual Agent that can help in both cases is valuable as a support organization grows. 

Pillar 4: Omnichannel Platform to Support Customers Using Voice and Chat

Conversational IVR is just one way of modernizing your support experience. Given the percentage of consumers, 67% and rising, that prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative, self-service will play a key role in defining how support is delivered in the coming years. Given this trend, organizations must be able to deliver a consistent, best-in-class self-service experience across many channels. That extends beyond just voice and includes other channels that customers use today, including chat, SMS, and email. A single AI Service Platform that can deliver a great experience on Day 1 across all channels is the perfect solution to satisfy these use cases.

Why Aisera?

Aisera offers the world’s leading Conversational IVR solution to help automate and augment your existing IVR environment. With out-of-the-box integrations to many leading IVR systems such as AWS Connect, Cisco Contact Center, and Genesys, Aisera’s Conversational IVR can provide seamless self-service automation and allow your customers to experience personalized support like never before. Aisera also offers a complete AI Customer Service solution, with Conversational AI, Conversational RPA, and Ticket AI, to automate your entire service desk and augment the Conversational IVR solution.

Some of the benefits Aisera’s Conversational IVR to improve customer service metrics offers include: 

  • 25% Auto-Resolution Rate
  • Reduction in OPEX
  • Improved Caller Satisfaction 
  • Decrease in MTTR

As with all Aisera solutions, Conversational IVR can be customized to fit your organization’s specific needs. To find out all about how Aisera can jumpstart your IVR plans or revolutionize your existing systems of choice, book a conversational AI demo today and see it in action.