Will Chatbots Replace IVR?

Will chatbots replace IVR?

Nobody enjoys spending hours in a calling queue, waiting for an answer to a pressing question. While interactive voice response (IVR) recordings attempt to streamline the customer service experience, they rarely do much to alleviate a caller’s frustration.

IVRs are designed to reduce waiting times by guiding callers to the relevant operator or department. Unfortunately, because this technology is designed to follow a strict linear pattern, it becomes useless when your customer wants help that doesn’t fit into a preset script.

The good news is that the recent surge in AI innovation is now helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to access the advantages of an assistant that can learn and respond to contextual concerns. Chatbot technology infused with natural language processing solutions and machine learning algorithms can deliver a more personalised experience for each customer, so your brand can stand out from the crowd. In fact, a Ubisend study found that 21% of consumers now see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business.

Eliminating caller frustration with intelligent tech

Machine learning helps chatbots understand and respond to customer needs.

For the average customer, the most tedious aspect of dealing with an IVR is trying to get a piece of limited machinery to understand what you need. IVRs can only respond to very specific needs and queries. On the other hand, a chatbot is a programme powered by machine intelligence, which can respond to context and stimulate a more genuine interaction with a user.

As natural language processing tools become more advanced, chatbots can also respond more easily to the organic speech of a human being. Click To Tweet

Software giants like Microsoft®, Google, and Amazon® are constantly updating their chatbot and virtual assistant technology to make them better at understanding and responding to customer needs. Language Understanding Intelligent Services and other machine learning strategies help a bot to break free of the limitations of an IVR and help with a huge array of complex customer issues.

As natural language processing tools become more advanced, chatbots can also respond more easily to the organic speech of a human being. This means that users spend less time repeating their issue to a machine that doesn’t recognise their dialect or style.

Flexible for omnichannel interactions

Chatbots are flexible for omnichannel interactions.

Salesforce® tells us that 72% of consumers expect a consistent experience from a brand whether they engage through social networks, phone, or email. As the average client looks for new ways to interact with their brand of choice, chatbots can be the key to offering the same level of exceptional service wherever your touchpoints might be.

For instance, Bank of America has a chatbot integrated into their Facebook® messenger platform which helps them to better serve their customers. On the other hand, Capital One gives modern clients the opportunity to communicate with them through Amazon Alexa when they want to make payments or hear information about their accounts.

As your chatbot continues to learn, handle more queries, and answer common questions, the rest of a call centre's team can be freed up to focus on other, more essential tasks. Click To Tweet

While chatbots started off as an addition to real-time messaging platforms and social media campaigns, they’ve recently evolved to be more effective in voice-based conversations too. In fact, these audio-focused chatbots have become a common part of the consumer world with things like Siri®, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft® Cortana. Because your clients (particularly those in the younger generations) are already used to dealing with AI assistants, they’re likely to feel more comfortable speaking with a bot when they contact your call centre too.

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Technology that keeps getting better

According to Gartner, customer service is the most important factor in business success. This means that the average brand will never stop looking for better ways to connect with its customers. If IVR is already failing to meet customer expectations today, then it makes sense that 10 years from now, this technology may be completely redundant.

Chatbots continue to learn and improve business interactions

Unlike limited IVR technology, chatbots can actively future-proof themselves by constantly learning and improving in the context of your business interactions. A chatbot with machine learning features can gather useful information about the customer journey and use that data to ask more insightful questions when directing your client to the right agent in your call centre.

All the while, as your chatbot continues to learn, handle more queries, and answer common questions that don’t require the help of a specialist or professional, the rest of a call centre’s team can be freed up to focus on other, more essential tasks. This means that employees become more productive, and organisations reduce their risk of missed sales opportunities.

As the chatbot and AI markets continue to grow, it’s safe to say that this convenient technology could play an important part in the growth of any business.

Daniel Yin

    Daniel Yin

    Author

    Daniel heads up Product Management for RingCentral in EMEA. He has spent his career at RingCentral driving the expansion of cloud Business Communication solutions in the UK and EMEA via the adoption of exciting, innovative features and services as well as their integration into customers’ workflows. He has spent the last 8 years in the cloud software and communication industries and his background is in software development and telecoms infrastructure.