Contextual Intelligence is changing the face of customer service experience

What would you say if we told you that the technology your customers interact with is over 4 decades old? You’d be surprised to say the least, right? Well that’s what your customers get when you greet them with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

IVR as we know it has been around since the 1970’s but it was considered too expensive for widespread deployment till the early 2000’s. Callers could initially only interact with the system through numbers on the keypad but updates have come to include speaking instructions as well.

The trouble with IVR

Organizations are going above and beyond simply getting the job done. To truly add quality to services, we need to first identify the pitfalls of IVR.

  • The lack of context makes it tough to have a conversation with what seems to be a human voice. Since IVR systems are not fitted with AI and machine learning, there is also a tendency for issues to be misrepresented.
  • In a global world, calls are routed from all quarters to other nations. While English may be widely spoken, accents aren’t as easily understood. This can lead to frustration and even be taken in offence.
  • Most IVR menus are tough to traverse bi-directionally. This means, if you make the smallest mistake, you will have to end the call and begin all over again. This can be a particularly troublesome issue for most customers.

IVRs aren’t the best for contact centers

With growing customer expectations, contact centers need to invest in advanced technology to achieve their goals. Improvements in backend operations establish better practices and metrics, but they are seldom effective in improving customer satisfaction.

Using recorded calls to train talent, tirelessly recruiting the best, and developing updated QA practices are established methods to improve customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, the feedback process is too slow for any of these changes to be effective.

When reviewing thousands of calls by randomly choosing one, the odds of finding a call that will help with preparing agents for unforeseen circumstances is tough – almost like finding a needle in a haystack.

The next logical step

R&D in the field of speech analytics have given us the likes of Siri, Alexa and Cortana. Although voice recognition is excellent in all, Google Assistant is the first virtual assistant that is contextually brilliant. AI has taken the fore.

Context is extremely important when discussing voice intelligence systems. It is not enough to know what customers are saying, but we must also strive to understand why they are saying it.

Customer care is getting a makeover with machine learning and AI systems. Developments in speech analytics and voice intelligence help agents perform better and keep customers happy.

Voice intelligence provides real time feedback, making it easy for agents to quickly reposition their responses. Software can now analyse emotions, review case history to develop context and provide appropriate information for agents. 100% of calls can be processed by voice intelligence systems improving QA and QC efforts manifold.

Take for example, a customer who calls from a small town seeking customer support. Call routing could lead him to a contact center in another country. The responding agent can effectively employ speech analytics software to overcome any barriers in communication such as accent or pitch, and address the core issue. The software can also pick out a history of calls from the customer to guide the agent on how best to tackle emotional indicators.

The final word

Voice intelligence and speech analytics is the direction in which all customer-centric organizations must move. Experts of the customer service industry don’t see the format of customer servicing changing any time soon, but improvements in customer care is what will actually set you apart.

Additionally, voice intelligence is being tapped for its immense potential in the banking segment. Security features can be made more robust and voice banking is a real possibility in the near future.