Many leading international industry players say that customer support’s future is digital human voice services. The leading developers in the business services sector are currently focusing on taking human voice automation to the next level with VoiceBot and IVA services. At this level, artificial intelligence can not only provide voice-based customer support but can even be taught to express emotions. But what is IVA and what is its relevance for customer service? Learn more from the most authentic source - or if you’re in a place where you can’t start a video, read the article below!
What is an IVA?
Let's start a little further! IVR, Interactive Voice Response, is probably familiar to anyone who has spoken to a call center at least once in their life. IVR is an automated menu system that allows customers to interact with a computerized telephone system by pressing buttons on the phone and using DTMF tones or speech recognition, and then receive information about products, services, or next steps in a process, for example, through dynamically generated pre-recorded voice messages. The term is often confused with the term automated call center.
A significant difference is that the primary purpose of an IVR is to receive incoming calls and process the results. In contrast, the primary purpose of an automated call center is to transfer calls. Networked IVR systems are usually scaled to handle large volumes of incoming calls, but can also be used for outgoing calls, as they are more intelligent than many predictive dialing systems. IVR systems can be used for mobile purchases, bank payments, services, retail orders, utility services, or travel information. IVA technology is a further development of IVR systems, primarily used for call routing, and handling tasks that can be automated.
Built on interactive voice response, machine learning and other modern tools based on artificial intelligence, the technology aims to create full-fledged "virtual personas" that operate in voice-based or chat environments to help solve customer problems. They can, for example, initiate banking transactions, check balances, book appointments, and so on.
In what ways does IVA outperform IVR?
The answer is short: in every way. IVA technology is now able to give the user the experience of a real conversation, so it can automate many more tasks than IVR systems. IVA systems can now understand human voices in more than 100 languages and answer questions using text-to-speech technology. State-of-the-art systems are capable of voice biometric verification of callers for financial transactions initiated over the phone. They can analyze emotions or process visual information using machine vision tools. And, perhaps most importantly for customer service and experience, they can automate almost all first-level transactions.
For whom do we recommend integrating an IVA system?
Anyone who has to deal with a high volume of inquiries, answering a high proportion of Frequently Asked Questions. Examples include mail-ordering companies, eCommerce, and virtually any activity where customer service staff spend a large percentage of their time helping to solve relatively easy-to-type problems. The integration of an IVA system can also be a great help when a team of in-house staff cannot perform their duties during peak periods, such as holidays or seasonal campaigns, without a periodic degradation of the customer experience.
How can a live agent get involved in the process?
It works in a similar way as chatbot / live chat hybrid systems, but in this case, the links of communication are voice-based instead of written messages. During the development process, the virtual agent learns all answers to all the questions that are necessary to support the level of service to be covered. They will be able to answer them perfectly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without rest or days off. And if the information needed to answer the question is not available, you can delegate the task to the next level, either by immediate connection or by forwarding the data collected, promising a call-back later, where a live agent will take over the process.
What are the benefits of using an IVA system?
The human voice is still the most important means of contact, but if you want a consistently high customer experience at all levels of service, at all times, you need a call center team that will inevitably cost your business a lot of money to run. IVA systems, on the other hand, relieve the burden of the operations team, as they can handle volume customer service quickly and efficiently, and even if we are talking about artificial voice, we don't have to do without speech as a communication channel. This allows customer service staff to focus on the levels where a personal presence is really needed, which has a positive impact on the quality of service and the customer experience.
Although widespread adoption of the technology is still to come, a new generation of customer service solutions based on IVA technology is already available in the portfolios of leading players in the BPO sector. This includes the Digital Agent service from United Call Centers, where users have reported significantly reduced call times, smooth first-level handling, and real conversations reminiscent of human-to-human communication. On the service provider side, the same benefits include reduced operator workload and less monotony of tasks.
And although the artificial persons are not able yet to entertain colleagues with virtuoso stunts like Bishop from the movie, Aliens, there are already those who refer by their first names to these incredibly universal workmates, who can be deployed in countless campaigns, in any industry.