71% of consumers want the ability to solve most customer service issues on their own, according to a 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience survey. And they want the customer care experience to support that.
In addition, more and more consumers are shopping and interacting with businesses through their smart phones, and while enterprises would love to get consumers to download their app and put it on their device so it’s ready and waiting for them to use or to check-in at the next visit, the reality for most businesses is that this is just not going to happen.
In reality, smartphone real-estate is scarce. Over half of smartphone users, 62% to be exact, download less than 2 apps per month. And on the average, almost half don’t download any apps (2016 Mobile App Report).
So how are businesses going to engage customers on their mobile devices? A Deloitte mobile consumer survey estimated that in the UK alone, people check their phones 1.1 billion times a day. So it’s critically important to engage customers through this channel since the smartphone is effectively an extension of today’s mobile, on-the-go consumer.
One of the traditional ways an enterprise engages customers is through its Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System, and while that technology has been enhanced by adding automatic speech recognition, speech to text, and other bells and whistles, it still is an experience that is primarily audio-centric. This poses some inherent problems especially for IVRs with complex menu trees in which the caller must navigate through multiple options and menus.
Any more than 5 options on an IVR menu can be problematic for users since people have a hard time remembering all that was spoken. And while having a customer talk with a live agent may more efficiently solve his or her problem, that can get expensive especially when you consider that the cost of a live agent compared to a self-service transaction that can be 400 times greater in some cases (Forrester).
So where does the balance lie for organizations as they try to contain costs, improve customer satisfaction, and better engage customers at all points along the buyers’ journey?
An ideal approach that we talked about in great deal at the recent A2I Summit in London is for enterprises to make the customer engagement experience – from awareness, consideration, and decision to customer care - more satisfying to the consumer by making it more visual in nature.
A Visual IVR extends the capabilities of a normal IVR by transforming it into a collaborative voice and visual on-demand web-based application for smartphones.
Without having to download an application or client, or require the user to register in some app store, a customer using a smartphone is offered the option to initiate a Visual IVR session. The Visual IVR approach no longer limits the customer to “dial pad only” interactions. With their smartphone screen, using a web-based interface synchronized with the IVR voice session, the customer now has access to an array of dynamic and interactive capabilities.
The Visual IVR session allows faster user navigation by simultaneously showing multiple options to the customer; it can also incorporate capabilities like:
- Audio prompts
- Visual cues
- Graphics, and
- Location or other contextual information
Also, the VIVR supports the ability to push instructional videos to the user as well as allowing them to use their camera to provide additional information during the user session. It really expands what consumers can do and how they can engage with businesses.
The VIVR user experience is HTML5-based giving customers the experience of a mobile app without the hassle of having to download software from a app store or get constant updates pushed to their phone. It can be built rapidly, and it can be used not only by large businesses but also entrepreneurs and small enterprises wanting to give themselves a bigger mobile presence.
In the next blog, I’m going to cover some key steps in implementing a Visual IVR. Until then, please share with me your thoughts on ways the mobile user experience and buyer’s journey can be improved by incorporating the audio and visual capabilities of a VIVR by emailing me at Thomas.Schroer@Dialogic.com or tweeting us at @Dialogic.