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More and more organizations are continuing to discover the benefits of using AI-powered contact center solutions to help deliver a modern customer experience and improve operational cost efficiency. 

Here's what you need to know about the latest interactive voice recognition (IVR) technologies.

What is IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition)?

Interactive voice recognition (IVR) is an automated telephony technology that provides information to callers through pre-recorded messages using a voice response system. 

It can route calls to the appropriate recipients by having callers select options from a touch-tone keypad or using speech recognition technology. It may also provide responses through various contact methods, including voice, fax, callback, email and more. A modern IVR system typically consists of telephony equipment, software applications, a database and the supporting IT infrastructure. IVR can offload call volume from agents by allowing customers to access product or customer-specific information without agent intervention.

How does AI technology enhance Interactive Voice Recognition?

The use of AI-driven technologies has expanded the capabilities of IVR systems dramatically. It enables real-time, human-like interactions using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technologies to deliver a robust self-service experience. 

Google Contact Center Artificial Intelligence (CCAI), for example, can be integrated with an existing Cisco Contact Center platform to provide conversational IVR functions across various channels using these AI technologies:

  • Speech-to-text (STT): Converts human speech to text automatically.
  • Text-to-speech (TTS): Converts text into speech that resembles a human voice.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): Processes text or speech automatically using AI-powered software.
  • Dialogflow: Enables users to design, build and integrate conversational interfaces into applications such as IVR and chatbots.

These AI technologies are used in various features, including: 

  • "Virtual Agents" deliver a conversational customer self-service experience with the ability to route the call to a live agent if needed.
  • "Agent Assist" provides live agents with guided assistance in real time by interpreting their conversations with customers.
  • "Insights" analyzes customer interactions using NLP technology to extrapolate sentiments and inform targeted improvements.

How are modern businesses benefiting from AI-Powered Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR)?

AI-powered conversational IVR has become an indispensable tool for today's contact centers. It helps streamline operations, improve efficiency and deliver a better customer experience.

Reduce time-to-resolution

AI technologies help customers get answers to common questions immediately without waiting for an agent. It can also route calls to the most appropriate representatives based on callers' input. This means that fewer calls need to be redirected, reducing wait time and improving the overall customer experience.

Facilitate customer journeys

Thanks to technologies such as Dialogflow, companies can deliver interactive self-service options. Besides resolving customer inquiries more quickly, brands can provide the most timely information and recommendations based on customer data. This helps deliver a targeted experience to facilitate customer journeys and increase conversions.

Improve customer satisfaction scores (CSAT)

As more consumers prefer self-service options, conversational IVR can help call centers meet customer expectations. Improvements in IVR platforms, along with the popularity of voice assistance (e.g., Alexa and Siri), means customers can comfortably navigate these technologies to get the help they need when they need it.

Lower operating costs

AI-powered technologies can lower customer service costs by as much as 30 percent. These technologies can reduce the number of calls that need to be handled by live agents while minimizing callbacks, repeat calls, chats and escalations. Moreover, automation technologies can improve operational efficiency by streamlining backend workflows.

Ensure consistency and compliance

Virtual Agents can deliver accurate information and a consistent customer experience. Meanwhile, the Agent Assist feature provides real-time guidance to ensure that agents adhere to company policies and compliance requirements, which would otherwise require costly training and monitoring.

Improve employee satisfaction

The Agent Assist feature provides just-in-time training and support to minimize employee frustration while ensuring that agents can get the help they need promptly. This improves agent satisfaction and reduces turnover rates, which can lower the cost associated with hiring and training new agents.

Deliver cross-channel support

Google CCAI solutions can be deployed on various customer touchpoints (e.g., phone, chat, email) to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience that maintains context across channels while progressing the resolution process smoothly to minimize customer frustration and reduce resolution time.

Analyze customer sentiment

NLP and machine learning technologies can help brands generate insights about customer sentiment by analyzing their interactions with the IVR system and agents. These technologies can help you make accurate real-time decisions to improve the customer experience and keep your brand relevant in the marketplace.

Infuse AI into your contact center platform

Ready to explore how AI can help you increase CSAT and Net Promoter scores, decrease agent turnover, and reduce process inefficiencies through the use of virtual agents and augmentation of agents? 

Connect with our experts for a briefing session to see how you can infuse AI technologies into your contact center platform.