The question of the status of visual IVR is a pretty legitimate one, considering the constant developments being made to today’s interactive voice response (IVR) technology.
So what is visual IVR? In a nutshell, visual IVR is supposed to help replace the need for traditional audio-based phone menus (ie. “Press 1 for X, press 2 for Y,” and so on) by instead introducing users to a visual interface on the Web or on their smartphone. You can see how this obviously sounds like a great idea in theory, but whatever happened to it?
In other words, why isn’t visual IVR more prevalent today? Fonolo (News - Alert), a provider of cloud-based call center solutions, recently posed the same question in a blog, writing, “Given the near universal disdain for the IVR experience and ubiquity of the Web and smartphones, this certainly seems like an idea whose time has come. So why hasn’t it taken the world by storm?”
One problem could be that while it is fairly simple to understand – anyone who comprehends IVR can usually catch on fairly easily – it may become a bit complicated when the “voice” aspect of IVR becomes translated into video. So how can we better cushion IVR’s transition to IVV?
“The problem with ‘visual IVR,’ and the reason we don’t use it as much when talking about Fonolo, is that is oversimplifies the problem. Or rather, it describes a partial solution to the problem,” the company explains.
So what’s the other half of this dilemma?
While visual IVR is a good start, Fonolo suggests that what’s really needed to seal the deal is an intelligent front-end to the call center experience. In other words, the most forward parts of the solution need to include the most basic navigation and identification features, as well as be able to easily gather pertinent information such as reservation codes and reference numbers. Anything that has already been established by the user should also be made available to the front-end in a simple, interconnected way. For example, if a customer has already logged on to a company’s website, they shouldn’t have to re-authenticate to the IVR when calling in.
The company further suggests that while the concept of visual IVR hasn’t disappeared completely, it needs a significant boost to secure a spot for further growth. “The intelligent interface described above clearly needs to be coordinated with the company’s customer service workflow,” advises Fonolo, “but the good news is, we’re getting there.” The company even goes so far as to predict that this time in five years, intelligent visual interfaces will be the complete standard for call centers as IVR is today.
This still goes to show that IVR is – for the time being – very much here to stay.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rich Steeves