Is Voice Self-Service Still Relevant?

Viewpoint: Voice of the Customer

Is Voice Self-Service Still Relevant?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Elaine Cascio , Vice President, Vanguard Communications Corp.
  |  October 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

With the explosion of new channels in the past decade, our customers are able to choose any number of ways to contact and work with us. Many experts are seeing conversations move from the web to mobile devices – a logical and organic channel shift. But where does this leave the voice channel? 

For many, voice has become the channel of last resort or the channel they go to when they need to escalate an issue. Since most studies show that people view IVRs negatively anyway, how do we make voice self-service relevant, useful and customer friendly?

If callers have already struck out on other channels, don't force them into trying to accomplish the same task using voice self-service. Let them easily and quickly identify their need and route their call appropriately.

  • Use automatic number identification to identify callers. If they've been through the ID process on other channels, they're going to be really annoyed if you ask them again on the IVR.
  • Leverage real-time data to inform the IVR about where the caller has been recently. If I've tried to do something on the web, what was it? Can you send my partially-completed home equity application or insurance application to the agent I'll be speaking with?
  • Make sure your IVR is easy to use and customer friendly. Old, stale applications, long menus and “press or say” user interfaces are huge dissatisfiers.

Voice self-service isn't dead; it's still useful to many for simple, quick-hit applications and call routing. As with all channels, knowing your callers and creating a customized conversation is critical for success. And for callers who use voice as a channel of last resort, it’s even more important to create unique and personalized experiences.

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Edited by Jennifer Russell