Deflect Calls, Not Business: Three Ways to Make the Most of Your IVR

Customer

"I’ve been on-hold for 2 hours. This is NOT how you run a business. This is unacceptable!"

Agent

“I’m so sorry sir, but I’m just trying to help. Would you please hold? I’ll be back with you in a second."

If you groaned, you know how frustrating and demoralizing this experience can be. After getting rerouted multiple times, customers, who’ve come to expect instant service, are placed in queues that feel like an eternity with delightful Muzak, growing more irate by the minute. Harried agents are disparaged for something out of their control. It’s a recipe for losing morale and consumers.

When phone calls come in faster than your teams can handle them, you need a strategic way to deflect those calls, for everyone’s sanity.

A Troubled 'Calldom'

Existing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology or Workforce Management (WFM) software are no match, given the increasingly complex and heightened expectations of consumers.

Today’s customers are empowered, and they:

  • Demand faster service
  • Expect less chit-chat
  • Have more devices to reach out from

With the world at their fingertips and with a swipe on a smartphone screen, why would customers be OK waiting for hours to speak to a live agent?

Hint: they’re not.

Enter call deflection, a solution that supports existing IVR systems with the flexibility of digital channels.

An Invisible Knight

After fire, writing may be human beings’ most enduring invention. It’s powerfully asynchronous ‒ you can communicate across lifetimes and continents.

Customers don’t like to call in, if they can help it. In fact, the No.1 inbound digital medium is the email, a writing delivery system that would make Guttenberg grin. However customers often turn to the phone when they’re convinced that their urgently dashed off requests will be lost in the ether.

Gartner Research indicates that 70% of service interactions over the phone can be solved via AI-powered, automated customer support. That’s

 

70%
of customers whose needs can be addressed in real-time.

30%
of customers who won't experience a wait time when they call in.

30%
of customers who will have dedicated agent time to resolve their complex requests.

 

It’s time to meet customers halfway, by suggesting a digital medium of their choice just when they’ve given up hope and are desperately trying to reach an agent (and simultaneously overwhelming the system).

Introducing IVR-to-text, call deflection with the humble, but beloved SMS.

If you’d like to hear our hours of operation, press three now or say “hours.” Call volumes are unusually high and wait-times are long. Would you like to continue this conversation over text? Press four now or say “let’s talk.”

Instead of being held in-queue during peak hours, you can give your customers a choice to have their issue or query handled via a digital channel instantly...right through their smartphone. For example, your customer can enter Ushur’s Invisible App, an app-less, app-like automation that exists over their web browser. No download or account needed.

The Invisible App (IA), part of the Ushur platform that is designed to intelligently automate workflows, is a white-labeled, direct encrypted channel that allows for two-way communication with your customer. It can handle the type of flows that agents would typically deal with over the phone, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand and address customer needs.

For inquiries as diverse as billing to support to account update, even for sales orders, customers can now interact with an AI-powered experience instantly, instead of waiting for a live agent. The Invisible App is especially adept at handling multi-step, complex processes with accuracy and speed.

Certified CCPA- and SOC 2 Type 2-compliant, the Invisible App takes potentially sensitive customer information communicated in human (messy) fashion to your existing CRM, with integrations like Ushur’s Salesforce-sanctioned App. This ensures quality record maintenance without taxing human resources for arduous administrative tasks.

Regardless of the selected digital medium, customers can get and communicate information at their convenience, on their preferred digital channel, even as the pressure on your agents and call infrastructure drops.

Three Ways Call Deflection with IA Helps Close the Gap

Deflect Calls When Volumes Spike

With COVID-19, businesses were confronted with surges in calls, and this incredible volume shows no signs of dissipating. Deflecting calls with digital channels, like the Invisible App, allows you to manage this lumpiness. Automated digital channels are easy to scale, allowing you to service customers in real-time, reducing the possibility of angry calls and overwhelmed agents. With the reduced demand from repetitive inbound, your agents can actually dedicate their time to problem-solving worthy of their abilities.

Give Customers the Ability to Query at Their Convenience

With digital deflection, give customers a frictionless option to have their needs met in real-time. Whether it’s checking on their insurance co-pay or updating critical financial forms, customers can verify and upload documentation on their own schedule, with the convenience of an app. As a two-way medium, the Invisible App can keep customers abreast of changes or missing information, giving them peace of mind that you’re on the case. The customers who do end up needing a live agent will be able to reach them faster.

Integrate with Your Existing IVR Technology

IVR is here to stay; it’s endemic to so many enterprise operations, and while it may not be the sleekest of technologies on its own, it’s reliable and ubiquitous. The Invisible App can easily integrate with your existing IVR technology, instantly modernizing your operation while keeping the best parts of your current setup.

Reduce churn, bring those C-SAT scores back up, and give your agents the breathing room to have quality customer engagements. From healthcare to financial services to car insurance, your customers want to feel heard. Raise them one, and make them feel understood. And AI-powered call deflection allows you to do just that.

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About Ushur

Ushur is the complete solution for intelligent automation. Ushur engages customers over AI-powered chatbots, email, SMS and more, using conversational AI and intuitive workflows to understand what people are saying and what to do next.

Read our case study on AI chatbots for customer service