Archive for July, 2015

IVR system – dynamic IVR – part 5

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by tszabi No Comments

Dynamic IVR – the customer’s best friend

The Interactive Voice Response – IVR is defined as a user-friendly menu system, where a customer can get access to the desired information or to a live operator with the help of his/her phone keypads. This system has a constant, static menu. The dynamic IVR’s menu offers multiple possibilities to clients the other side of the line.

What is a dynamic menu?

Briefly: a dynamic menu is a menu that changes based on information from the customer. As an example: the customer gives his or her identification number. Due to this number, the system allocates all user histories to the call (e.g. past interaction with customer care). But this identifier also opens up the possibility for a personalized menu, where items offering a quick problem-solving list. When a customer has an ongoing complaint, the system recognizes it and brings the mentioned personalized menu in, so the caller does not need to get through the entire IVR system one more time.

A basic version of the dynamic menu is when customer is identified by its previously recorded phone number. Based on customer interaction history a personalised menu proposed. Virtual Call Centre uses this version of dynamic IVR.
Personalisation includes more opportunities that speed up information exchange: customer data (numbers, texts) is associated with this personal IVR menu, and this data is available for the client as well (e.g. bank account balance).

Also, there are more sophisticated dynamic menus; the system becomes more intelligent when additional variables are introduced. Besides the caller’s phone number, location or other customer provided data (e.g. customer identifier) can be taken into consideration when building the personalised menu. True dynamism is provided by the combined use of menu items and available data, which build up several alternative menus according to the navigation of the customers during call.

Benefits of a dynamic menu

With the help of a dynamic menu IVR greatly improves so that it takes a lot shorter for clients to get the required information. Faster process results in efficiency improvement and keeps costs on lower level. Waiting time becomes shorter, which saves time also for clients. Live operators could also be more efficient and work faster because the customer’s interaction history is already displayed on their computer screen.

Further articles on IVR

IVR system – choosing voice – Part 4
The user friendly IVR menu – Part 3
IVR system’s menu development – Part 2
History of IVR – Part 1

IVR system – choosing voice – part 4

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by tszabi No Comments

The needs of customers must come first when a company is designing an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Customers are calling the company’s customer care service with their goals. The role of a well-designed IVR is to help customers achieve these goals: to solve their problems, to get information. The menu of this IVR must be designed and structured to help customers navigate through the IVR as easily as possible.

IVR system - choosing voice - part 4 | VCC Blog

Design of an IVR system, with a focus on voice

There are some important aspects worth taking into consideration when the IVR’s full structure is designed:

  • the number of menu items suggested to be minimum; popular menu items should be placed at the top of the hierarchy; enough time must be provided to customer to make their choices, but not too much, because they may think the system is not working; customer choices must be reinforced; and last but not least the description of the menu items should precede the number of the keypads
  • navigation: the possibility of voice commands is a good choice; IVR’s menu structure should be presented right after a customer contacts; a user must always have the possibility to choose a menu, without re-listening information; some choices should be permanent (e.g., there should always be the possibility to re-listen the menus)
  • IVR’s sound and language: no matter, if we talk about recorded or machine-generated voice, it has to be friendly and clear, the use of professional jargon must be avoided; music on hold in IVR should be clear, and high tones should be avoided

Pay special attention to voice

No matter if we talk about recorded or machine-generated voice, the voice of an IVR is very important. This is the voice that gives character to the company, provides information, helps to the customers and reinforces the brand’s image. Designated voice can be recorded using different software tools. The open source, Audacity is among the most convenient choices , according to the GNU GPL licence agreements it can be used free of charge.

As a first step, we must decide whether to use a male or a female voice. Studies in these fields are presenting a tiny preference for one gender or another. But the main conclusion of the same studies is that the gender of a voice is indifferent to the majority of users. Besides gender, it is more important that the voice is speaking clearly, understandably, friendly.
Nevertheless, a monotone and colourless voice and speech are not advised.
We suggest paying special attention to the plosives generating stronger air movement (t-d, b-p), if needed a pop filter can be used. The quality of the recorded voice should be tested on the IVR system it will be used. The voice may sound different on computer’s speakers. Be careful to avoid mumbled or distorted voices. Always use the ideal settings reached after successful testings.

More aspects to consider for a high-quality voice:

  • information presented briefly must contain keywords highlighted with intonation
  • edit the recording to reach short and constant pauses between menu items, and take longer – but also constant – pauses between menu points – but not too long ones
  • the customer must know at the beginning of the interaction that he or she communicates with a machine or a living operator, and when a switch between the two has happened

In case of a complex IVR, a script always helps. Script has the following items:

  • name of recording (the name should be coherent: e.g. 1.1.2 product_information – which stands for product information in the 1st menu 1st submenu, 2nd menu item)
  • identifier of IVR voice
  • text

Further articles on IVR

The user friendly IVR menu – Part 3
IVR system’s menu development – Part 2
History of IVR – Part 1

Key to success: the user-friendly IVR menu – Part 3

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by tszabi No Comments

Customers navigate and make decisions through IVR with the help of its menu. It’s highly important that this menu should be user-friendly, not taking too much time to sort it out, and should not confuse customers. Navigation through this menu has to be easy and transparent, and all unnecessary information recommended to be cleared out.

Main characteristics of a well designed menu system

  • menus are understandably formulated, for an easy comprehension
  • menus do not need too much information, and at the same time they have to be short, and express easily their goals
  • the perfect IVR is not too deep
  • one menu item has to offer a limited number of choices, experts recommend maximum three or four, more choices are hard to remember
  • menu items containing popular information should be placed at the top of the hierarchy
  • the description of the menu item must precede the number of the keypad
  • customers must be allowed enough time to choose a menu item
  • possibility to ask for an operator should be available in every place possible
  • recorded sound has to be high quality, no matter if we talk about machine-generated or recorded, human talks
  • it has to be customisable; which can be achieved with the help of software support, e.g. local information and promotional offers should be only delivered to relevant customers
  • menu system must be designed considering the customer experience, and, if needed, by polling the calling customers

IVR has a bright future

Interactive response systems are constantly developing due to the advances in computer telephony integration and in supporting software. Research in artificial intelligence also shapes the future of IVR. According to expert forecasts, self-service systems based on MI will be widespread in the future. Voice recognition systems will have a big role to play. Voice based conversational IVR can become the path of future development.

Further articles on IVR

IVR system’s menu development – Part 2
History of IVR – Part 1