Mark VogelApril 01, 2019

Self-Service Experiences Matter Too

There are times when a customer needs to dial into your contact center to ask a question or request assistance. But first they must bypass the dreaded Pit of Misery, also known as the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Typically, this Pit of Misery experience looks and feels something like this…

Cue robot voice:

Hello, thank you for calling EOL Corp. Your call is important to us.”

Please press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish.”

“In a few words please tell me how I can help you?”

Customer: “I have a question about my recent transactions.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t quite catch that; can you please repeat?”

Customer repeats the same information making sure to slowly enunciate every letter of every


“I’m sorry I still don’t understand. For option A. press 1 for option B. press 2. To return to the main menu press 0*.”

The customer returns to the main menu to go through the same process again to no avail. Frustration and anger grow, and the customer demands to be transferred to an AGENT! Usually having to scream the word 2 or 3 times.

“I’m sorry, all of our agents are busy assisting other customers. Please continue to hold”

Cue the elevator music: do da do da dooo…

Once the customer is finally connected to an actual human, their annoyance is now directed toward the agent and rapidly intensifies when they have to repeat the same information they just gave to Mr. Roboto. And this poor agent better be able to quickly answer the customer’s question without having to transfer the call or place them on hold again.

Gartner predicts “by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service customer interactions, rising from 40% today.” [1]

What are you doing to ensure your contact center is ready to handle this 75% increase in self-service customer interactions while avoiding the scenario previously described?

At Avaya, we believe voice-driven conversational experiences matter- that they are key to providing an exceptional customer experience, enhancing contact center operational efficiency, improving agent performance and satisfaction, and reducing costs. This is why we partnered with Nuance Communications– the pioneer of the highest functioning speech software in the world, to integrate their AI-powered, enterprise-grade speech technology into our industry-leading Avaya Experience Portal.

This integration ensures that Avaya Experience Portal is now equipped to recognize and emulate all facets of the human voice. It will identify customers when they call, anticipate why they are calling, service them in the language of their choice, and be able to start and maintain two-way, engaging conversations to deliver personalized and exceptional customer experience.

Gone are the days of communicating by pressing various combinations of 1,2,3,#,0,*, on your mobile or landline until you have inadvertently taught yourself how to play the main riff to “Funky Town.” And if the Avaya Experience Portal doesn’t answer your customer’s question or if additional assistance is needed, you can be assured that your customer will be transferred to the most qualified agent without getting stuck in long queues or having to repeat themselves once connected to an agent.

All customer interactions are important even those driven by your Mr. Roboto interactive voice response system. In fact, your IVR may have the most impact on customer experience since the vast majority of customers connect with your IVR when engaging your organization.  As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. This is especially true when it comes to customer service.

So Domo Arrigato Mr. Roboto, but it’s time to come sail away for an upgrade.

Check out our press release on new conversational experiences.  And look out for a blog by my colleague Jon Aplerin next week to learn more about modernizing your IVR to meet today’s customer expectations.

[1] Gartner, Inc., “Predicts 2019: CRM Customer Service and Support”, Olive Huang et al December 13, 2018