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October 23, 2014 • 2 minute read

Putting the “I” in IVR with Virtual Assistants

There are countless reasons for calling customer service centers. Perhaps a phone line has static, or cable service is out, or a new customer needs help with WiFi (News – Alert) settings, or a scheduled appointment needs to be changed, or maybe Mom ordered the wrong size Halloween costume and needs to quickly exchange it. Regardless, quite frequently, the customer service call will be met with a recorded or computer generated voice asking for the nature of the call – as if trying to convince the caller it is a live agent.

Too often, the result is a virtual interaction that doesn’t resolve the issue, takes too long to resolve, or requires multiple channel hops to resolve. Any of these provide a less than optimal customer experience. Not only was there a problem to begin with, but the customer service experience multiplies the negative experience with the brand – and, as a byproduct, gives IVR a bad name.

Virtual assistants, such as what Interactions provides its customers, seek to take IVR to a new level and break out of the mold of inflexible, difficult to navigate IVR trees. Rather, the goal is to create a completely natural interaction between customer and software, such that, in the best case, the customer doesn’t even realize the interaction has been handled by a machine.

“We are adding to the customer experience and improving it,” says Interactions’ marketing communications manager Dan Fox. “It actually makes people want to use voice automation.”

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