Jon AlperinApril 12, 2019

Two Ways to Modernize your IVR to Meet Today’s Customer Expectations

We live in an age of voice-enabled everything. If consumers can dim the lights, check the weather, and change the TV channel just by speaking, why can’t they request a refund or check the status of a flight in the same effortless way within your IVR?

Many Interactive Voice Response systems (IVRs) haven’t caught up to these high expectations. Investments in digital channels like Web, mobile, and social have left many IVRs behind. Customers are greeted by outdated touch-tone phone systems, confusing menu options, and clumsy PIN and password authentication. It is the exact opposite of a modern digital experience – and the negative effects on customer satisfaction and retention can be dramatic.

Let’s look at two ways combining Nuance capabilities with your Avaya contact center solutions can help you keep up with customer expectations.

  1. Recognize callers faster – Nobody likes PINs, passwords and security questions. They create angst and frustration at the outset of every call, and they cost the caller a lot of time. Faster authentication is a great place to start.
  2. Become more conversational – IVRs don’t have to sound like robots. They can listen, respond to prompts, understand slang, speak multiple languages, and provide more natural, human-like interactions.

Recognize callers faster
Leading companies are replacing frustrating, agent-guided verification processes by letting customers authenticate using the power of their voice. With voice biometrics, your voice is your password. The IVR system automatically verifies your identity by comparing your voice against a ‘voiceprint’ you created during a simple, one-time setup process.

It is not just a more pleasant experience – it is far more efficient, decreasing agent call volume, shortening call durations, and creating more time for callers to learn about new products. Plus, voice biometrics is significantly more secure than the alternatives helping to reduce the cost of fraud in the call center. Organizations are implementing voice biometrics to maximize automation, to ensure a great customer experience, and to thwart fraud.

Become more conversational
A conversational IVR greeting like “How can I help you?” allows the customer to state their needs in their own words – then uses Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to properly interpret and assist the caller. Nuance Call Steering utilizes NLU and advanced dialog strategies to provide a more natural way to engage the IVR and increase customer satisfaction, shorten call times, and improve overall call center metrics.

Avaya Client Services support Nuance speech engine software
Avaya supports Nuance speech engine software consisting of Automatic Speech Recognition and Speaker Verification. Nuance speech engine software is sold with the Avaya Experience Portal platform and Avaya Breeze.

There are two types of solutions that can be implemented with the speaker verification component – an explicit approach that requires a specific passphrase to be spoken and uses Avaya Experience Portal to prompt and collect that information from the caller, and a passive approach that is built using Avaya Breeze to monitor the caller/agent interaction and determine if there are enough biometric markers in the speaker’s speech patterns to reach a threshold that says “This is/is not likely to be the person you think it is” to the Agent, in order to reduce fraud.

Modernizing your IVR
Ask yourself: When customers call your IVR to resolve complex issues, how is the call answered? Is it an outdated “Press 1 for Sales” phone tree? Or worse, are you telling callers that your “menu options have changed” even though no one has updated anything in the last 10 years?

It’s time to modernize your IVR, with a secure, advanced, conversational interface that delivers a world-class natural speech-driven experience. Your customers expect it. Your business deserves it. And if you wait too much longer, your competitors may take advantage of it.

Nuance speech capabilities are available through Avaya.  Contact your Avaya account manager or Avaya Edge Partner for more information.


Jon Alperin

Jon Alperin leads the Avaya DevConnect program—Avaya's global developer and technology partner program—leveraging a background as an application developer, solution architect, and product manager for the telecom and high-tech industries. Since joining Avaya in 2001, he has also supported the company with roles in corporate strategy, marketing and alliance development.

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