Everyone knows the pain.  For as long as most can remember, the call center customer experience has been parodied for testing the wit of determined callers by making them navigate cumbersome and confusing IVR (Integrated Virtual Response) mazes.  Often the IVR tree will lead you down a wrong path several times before you are able to speak to a live agent.   The agent then quizzes the mystery traveler to determine their identity and if they have arrived at their desired destination on their customer service journey.  In this article we will discuss the dramatic impact that the IVA or Intelligent Virtual Agent will make your contact center as legacy IVR technology begins to collect dust.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is over 40 years old and gained popularity in the 1990’s.  Most people are familiar with recordings that say something like, “Press 3 for sales.  Press 4 for support”…   The IVR is still useful as a step in many call flows, but now the Intelligent Virtual Agent can use Natural Language Processing to ask open ended questions like “How may I help you today?” and guide your customer on their journey.

The Intelligent Virtual Agent is new and each of its technology components are in a phase of exponential development, opening windows of opportunity for savvy technologists to gain a competitive advantage.  Business decision makers seeking to transform established call centers or sourcing a greenfield CCaaS solution should be exploring how Intelligent Virtual Agents can:

  • Dramatically improve your customers experience (external experience)
  • Improve the job satisfaction and job performance of your contact center team (internal experience)
  • Quickly lower the operating costper contact center agent by increasing automation to fulfill simple customer requests (finance)
  • Promote your brand and extend marketing campaigns using synthesized human voices (marketing)

IVA’s leverage a list of technologies to produce a human-like conversational experience that is driven by artificial intelligence (AI).  IVAs can have several front-line and support roles in your customer’s journey and can have skills such as speech recognition and speech to text in dozens of languages when greeting your customers.  Further, IVAs can get a feel for the sentiment of the customer to help direct them agents who have the administrative and empathetic skills for the task, making the agent’s role more rewarding.

A few examples where IVAs can offload calls from live agents include:

  • Replying with detailed steps in a process such as managing returns
  • Queries about delivery status
  • Updating account contact information when necessary
  • Changing specifics of an in-flight order
  • Front ending inbound queries in a new global market, requiring omnichannel translation
  • Automated payment collections

Contact centers are obviously a practice within IT that requires input and collaboration with sales, marketing, and other teams to ensure that the production platform aligns with structured campaigns.  As noted earlier in the article, IVAs can become a branding tool by using synthesized human voices that align with personalities represented in advertising, for example.

Adding IVAs is less complicated than one might expect.  The cloud-based architecture of a modern contact center as a service solution allows the service provider to continuously introduce new features to business tenants.  Many IVA solutions offer low-code deployment toolkits that allow contact center staff to implement and change IVAs with minimal hands-on experience and without the need to pay high professional service fees.

The team at Macronet Services will help you map out your current customer journey and build a CCaaS strategy that may leverage IVAs to cut costs, improve the customer experience, and even raise the level of job satisfaction for your valued contact center staff.

We represent all the leading CCaaS service providers and have years of experience in sourcing the best-fit solution for our clients and will even customize a CCaaS RFP for your application. Additionally, our contact center consultants can assist with a wide range of internal and external contact center enhancements to help continuously fine tune a very important piece of your business.

We would love to hear from you so please contact us anytime.