Three things a smart IVR can do that Siri can’t

Spoken | August 9, 2016

Three things a good IVR can do that Siri can’t

For those of us who have iPhones, and even those of us who don’t, Apple’s Siri is a familiar automated virtual assistant. It provides driving directions and conducts Internet searches for us while we’re on the road, so we don’t have to take our hands off the wheel to use our smartphones for such vital information as, for instance, the score of the Seahawks game. Siri’s genius capabilities rely on speech recognition technology, which enables her to understand our language and provide an appropriate, human-like response.

Try asking Siri what zero divided by zero is, for example. A little humor goes a long way in terms of smartphone user experience!

Siri’s abilities are advantageous for smartphone users; however, they are creating unrealistic expectations for customer service centers around the world. That is, the interactive voice response (IVR) technology employed by many call centers just doesn’t seem to provide the instantly fun user experience that Siri can, thereby displeasing and even angering today’s consumers.

In reality, Siri’s speech-recognition technology only seems more reliable than that of many contact centers because it is programmed to understand questions relating to Apple apps or products and, when she doesn’t know the answer, she brings up list results curated from Google.

How a smart IVR beats Siri

But never fear: an intelligent, well-designed IVR can beat Siri in terms of customer experience, hands-down. Here’s what a thoughtful, analytics-driven Spoken Smart IVR can do:

  • Increase ROI siri_screenshot_roi.pngA truly intelligent IVR can correctly identify the caller based on a combination of the number the caller is dialing from and information that the caller gives to the IVR, accomplished through a dip into the organization’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database. Secondarily, the smart IVR should be able to determine the reason for the call, even if the caller mumbles, says “um” or isn’t quite sure how to word the request. Higher caller identification and caller intent rates mean increased routing accuracy, which leads to reduced Average Handle Times and overall cost savings. For example, one customer reported a budget savings of 16 percent; the Neat Company was able to save the equivalent of seven full-time agents with a smart IVR system.
  • Heighten security Privacy is a major concern for consumers who are prompted to share sensitive, personal data such as credit card or social security numbers with an automated voice response system. Using a secure IVR system that is PCI-compliant not only protects the caller but the organization handling the information as well.
  • Improve customer experience Smart IVR technology that leverages human Silent Guides to increase the accuracy and flow of each and every call means that customers don’t have to repeat their responses. In turn, this reduces opt-out rates and increases customer satisfaction scores. That is, when humans and robots are combined, contact centers can reduce the amount of errors, hence consumer frustrations, produced by the IVR system.

Can Siri do all of that? We asked, and Siri modestly joshed us back.

Read more about how you can maintain a competitive edge in the contact center space by reading our free essay, “Modern Call Center Best Practices in the Age of Siri.”

Download the essay

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