Call Center Solutions Featured Article

Speech Technology Turns the IVR from a Pain Point to a Critical Customer Tool

  By , Call Center Solutions Contributor

We know that customers are changing and evolving when it comes to how, when and where they want customer service. We know that voice remains king, but the average customer today is mobile, visual and wants a more interactive solution as well as an immediate solution.

Companies struggle with providing customers with what they want, and customers’ expectations continue to rise. But, they also need to try and keep costs down, since few companies are throwing lots of money at their call centers.

Voice calls, of course, are expensive. According to a recent blog post by VoltDelta’s (News - Alert) Lauren Maschio,   the average cost of a live telephone call varies considerably, but has a mean average of $7.76. Now multiply this by the number of calls the typical mid-sized contact center gets each day, and it’s easy to see where the operating expenses are going.

Robust self-service is a must-have in any contact center’s arsenal. According to VoltDelta’s “US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide ‘Self Service’ 2013,” the average cost of a telephony self-service session is $.98: nearly one-eighth the cost of a live call. For this reason, companies should be ensuring that they are presenting customers with the most robust interactive voice response (IVR) system around, and this means using speech. A speech-enabled IVR solution can allow customers to use the most natural of interfaces: their voice.

“Customers like to talk and find voice the most convenient, flexible and quickest communication channel in many instances, especially in older demographics and for complex inquiries,” writes Maschio.

Speech has other benefits over touch-tone: customers prefer it. The report found that contact centers where the majority of self-service is offered through touch-tone saw a mean zero-out rate (the percentage of customers who give up and demand an agent) of 23 percent, versus a 19 percent zero-out rate with speech recognition.

Chances are good that if you examine the types of calls your contact center routinely handles, you will find that many of them are well suited to a speech-enabled IVR solution. Advanced solutions, such as that from VoltDelta, combine advanced speech recognition, experienced voice user interface (VUI) design, and technology to create effective voice self-service solutions that customers will actually use.

In particular, VoltDelta’s ability to deliver SMS messaging to confirm a speech response, call recording, and whisper on agent transfer to avoid repeats results in voice recognition solutions that take best advantage of on-demand, multichannel flexibility and efficiency, improving the caller experience.

While customers today do want high quality and personalized service, there is plenty of evidence that they also want the fastest option possible. With no need to greet and make small talk required, speech-enabled self-service is often the very fastest option. Thanks to technology breakthroughs, it can also be of the highest quality.

Edited by Blaise McNamee