April 26, 2012
Why Call Center Automation and IVR are a Must in Today's Call Center
By Stefania Viscusi
Assignment Desk Editor
Automation in the call center can seem like a frightening endeavor – especially after years of industry stigma and callers voicing that they just want to talk to a live person. But voice automation can actually be a powerful tool – especially in revenue-oriented call centers.
Customers today are much more informed and are taking charge to conduct business with companies on a path that involves the least amount of effort on their part. As a response to this change, businesses are using voice automation tools like IVR to go beyond search and selection to help customers carry out business.
An online survey conducted a few years ago by Opus Research of a few hundred people found that while their preferred methods for communications with the companies did rank the Web highly, IVR and phone-based communications were among the most favored channels to carry out business.
Dan Miller (News - Alert), senior analyst and founder of Opus Research noted during a recent Webinar that this is a sign that customers are taking control of how they want to interact with companies.
“More and more customers are adopting the path that involves the least effort on their part. Not laziness, more personal efficiency and determining on their own how they want to interact,” Miller said.
In addition to using the most convenient channel to initiate and engage conversations with the company, communications are also happening at the point when the customer needs it – at any time day or night. For this reason, IVR and voice automation have become key.
Because there are some people still saying that they are dissatisfied with the phone service they have gotten from businesses – from poor call transferring to long hold times – businesses must focus on matching efficiency and making sure they can provide fast answers, smaller menu trees and quickly connect callers to helpful people when requested.
Previously, IVRs were limited but today they have grown to do more than just getting phones answered and moving conversations along for the live agent to pick it up – instead great progress has now allowed people to choose when they want to use technology.
“Forward looking companies are supporting a balance and way for individuals to take advantage of the right people or technology to best serve their needs and provide quality customer experiences,” Miller said.
With time, callers have been growing much more confident in virtual assistants to check balances, route calls, check order statuses etc. – removing that IVR stigma that was placed on the speech tech industry as fewer consumers find IVR systems difficult understand and use.
Chris Hale, vice president of Reservation Services at Hyatt – a company making use of Interactions Corporation Voice Automation tools – said during the Webinar that as more guests stayed their hotels they noticed changes in the way they were booking reservations and reaching out to the company including an increased use of mobile technologies. They used IVRs to meet the needs of guests in a way that supplemented, not replaced, their call center staff.
According to Hale, Hyatt picked IVR technology to be integrated with live associates to increase efficiency and the value of time they spend with guests.
“Interactions’ Virtual Assistant is making it possible for Hyatt’s live agents to stay focused on value and positive experiences for guests while it handles automated tasks for data collection – helping to improve accuracy and sales efficiency.”
To find out more, check out the recorded version of “How IVR is Reshaping Revenue Generating Contact Centers,” HERE.
Edited by Jennifer Russell