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What is Voice IVR and Does Your Call Center Need It?

Most call center agents and business owners have a good idea of what interactive voice response (IVR) is and what it does. It’s a comparatively old technology that allowed for the first self-service customer interactions. While customer service departments have recognized the benefits of IVR software, customers have become painfully familiar with its disadvantages. 

For many businesses, the question of whether or not to use IVR voice bots remains. While traditional voice IVR tends to fill customers with dread, IVR technology has advanced. And, when it’s combined with AI, smart IVR solutions can make a huge positive difference for agents and customers. 

What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

Interactive voice response has automatically greeted customers for decades in lieu of live agents. It’s an automated machine that answers every customer service call and directs them to a self-service channel or a live agent. While it was an innovative solution in its time, technology progressed so quickly that voice IVR is now outdated. 

IVR is no longer the most efficient call center solution as it often blocks customers out of customer service instead of giving them the information they need. Because it’s not human and because it doesn’t have the voice AI technology of modern solutions, it doesn’t understand customer preference; for example, it may not pick up on a customer’s desire to speak to a live agent instead of using self-service channels. 

Finally, because voice IVR has more difficulty understanding natural language, customers often have to repeat themselves or select an option from a rigid menu. 

What is Smart IVR and How Has It Advanced?

Fortunately, though many call centers continue to use outdated solutions like IVR, progress has been made. Traditional voice IVR contact center systems, when paired with modern automation, conversational AI, and natural language processing, can become a powerful tool. 

Smart IVR no longer relies on a short list of options, a rigid phone tree, or a selection of the right keywords. Instead, with machine learning and artificial intelligence, it’s become much better at understanding everyday phrases, thus eliminating many of the frustrations that customers associate with IVRs. 

How Has IVR Evolved?

IVR technology has come a long way. Traditional voice IVR took much of the load off the shoulders of call center agents. Though it might not have solved every problem, for the most part, IVR did what it was supposed to do.

However, the world of technology is always changing and improving, and IVR has had to evolve to succeed among other advanced call center technologies that enhance customer experience. As Forbes puts it, “artificial intelligence (AI) is the key to reinventing IVR, because it takes the technology beyond simple voice recognition to a level of voice understanding.”

Differences Between Traditional IVR and Contact Center Automation

There are a few major differences that set traditional voice IVR apart from modern automation solutions like Replicant. 

  • Faster comprehension: Traditional voice  IVR uses frustrating dial pad methods and keyword matching to understand questions. Contact center automation uses AI to comprehend and respond to questions asked in natural language in less than a second. 
  • Access to more features: Replicant’s solution offers all the benefits of a traditional voice IVR and many other benefits. For example, you’ll also receive access to an extensive library of conversation components so scaling up is easy and inexpensive. 
  • Customer support: According to McKinsey, many call centers make the mistake of using IVR to reduce costs instead of to improve customer support. In contrast, Replicant’s automation solution puts customers first, keeping them informed of potential wait times and alternative options – without the cost of additional agents. 

Try Replicant’s Solution

Whether you’re just starting out as a business or trying to update your contact center, smart voice IVR systems that use modern technologies like AI and automation can be a game-changer. Calculate your contact center automation ROI to find out if Replicant is the right solution for your business.

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