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Aspect Executive Interview

Executive Interview, Aspect

In what ways do modern IVRs enable consumers to get things done the way they want, using technology that makes each interaction a more “human” experience?

 A more human IVR can be one that sounds like a human would, as well as one which interacts with the caller as a human does, personalizing the experience. Modern IVRs should treat the caller as an individual, knowing who they are through their phone number and a CRM profile to offer a best guess at why they are calling and dynamically generate menus instead of the same options for every caller. In the best-case scenario, an IVR checks to see if there are any incomplete transactions from any interaction channels and ask if the caller wants to resolve that first, as a human who understands context would. 
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How does migrating to a cloud-based IVR solution offer organizations superior options to re-imagine their self-service strategy?

A cloud-based IVR is one with continuous updates applied so that the latest advances in technology are available more quickly than on-premise systems, as well as shifting resources away from maintaining hardware and software and to agile improvement of the IVR, itself. 

Can you explain how an updated IVR can adjust to the caller’s level of involvement with a company: For example, is it able to discern between a first-time caller as opposed to a repeat caller?

 There are two keys to understanding who a caller is: being able to recognize who they are from their phone number, and then applying the context of their prior interactions to the current one, usually stored in the CRM. A first time caller will not be found in the CRM and will have a standard menu offered to them, whereas a repeat caller can have a menu dynamically generated based on their profile or the IVR can offer a specific interaction such as, “I see you’ve recently applied for a mortgage, are you calling to check on the application’s status?” Combine that with an approach to track “context cookies” of where a customer left off the last time they contacted you, on whatever channel, and you have a compelling customer experience that is seamless, efficient, and more cost-effective than traditional “context unaware” approaches. 

Most people think of IVRs as tools to be used exclusively when a customer initiates contact. Can IVRs also be employed for proactive outbound calling?

Today’s customers prefer to be assisted and informed by technology, so a company who proactively communicates account issues and information is doing its customers a service. If there’s an interruption in service (from a utilities company) or an account is past due, customers can be quickly notified instead of waiting for them to call in and fill up the phone lines and waste valuable time with live support agents. It’s a benefit to the customer to be more knowledgeable, as well as for the company to keep their costs down. To accommodate a growing shift away from voice communication towards messaging-based communication, the IVR concept can be taken over to “Interactive Text Response” (ITR), which lets businesses to send text messages to keep the customer informed, while allowing them to respond and engage in a 2-way dialog; like an IVR would, but over a channel people actually love. 

With so many customers using mobile devices to interact with customer service, what additional capabilities does a modern IVR need to include to improve responsiveness?

A modern IVR should take advantage of the capabilities that mobile devices have versus a traditional phone: messaging, the mobile web and integration with native applications on the device. These capabilities deeply extend the power of the IVR and the ways that companies can interact with customers to make interacting simpler and more convenient. Imagine a new customer is on an extended hold waiting for a support representative who would otherwise have to ask them for their full contact information, confirming the spelling of their name, address, etc. Leveraging the mobile device’s web browsing capabilities, the IVR could offer to send a text message where the caller remains on hold and is taken to a website where they can fill a form to complete all of this information in that time. Once they’re ready to speak to the representative, the needed information is ready and they can immediately begin working on the issue at hand, saving everyone time and making the interaction more positive. Another example would be a concept called “Visual IVR”, which complements the voice channel with visuals DURING the interaction, which reduces average handling time, increases first contact resolution, and improves the caller experience at the same time. After all, “a picture (visual channel) says more than a 1000 words (voice-only channel)…” 

When a company successfully transitions to a new IVR, what immediate improvements will customers notice and how do these translate into tangible business benefits?

Customers should notice the IVR is simpler and more intuitive in navigating, as well as it recognizing who they are. Interestingly, in a well-designed IVR, the customer may not in fact notice the changes because they’re so intuitive as the IVR did not require the ubiquitous “please note our menu options have changed” message that we’ve become so accustomed to. Getting the customer to their goal quickly is the best improvement of all. For the business, understanding what the most commonly customer issues are, and which of those can be addressed through the IVR, will allow for a shift of certain tasks away from agents and to the self-service system. This will allow those agents to focus on more complex issues (which they prefer) and the company begins to create a system where they can regularly evaluate what issues are best suited for which interaction modes. 

Describe the unique features and capabilities provided by your Aspect Via customer engagement platform    

  1. A truly omni-channel experience across voice, messaging and mobile web that collects “context cookies” (small bits of interaction data) so that customers can start, stop and restart their interaction on any channel without ever having to repeat themselves again.
  2. Leading enterprise application server (CXP)
  3. Design once, deploy anywhere architecture for all service channels
  4. Full application lifecycle development suite
  5. Built-in Natural Language Understanding (NLU) engine
  6. Compatible with Amazon Lex, Microsoft Luis, IBM Watson and other AI engines
  7. Linguistic approach to AI-based applications for quicker go live compared to Machine Learning.   

Aspect Via® is a one-of-a-kind customer engagement platform that covers all the customer service bases while taking full advantage of Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud services and infrastructure. The Aspect Via platform approach eliminates the headaches and costs of maintaining traditional, loosely coupled contact center point solutions for your contact center, self-service/IVR and workforce management needs.

Aspect Via is a complete customer engagement solution powered by a set of native customer service capabilities and designed to integrate into the larger customer-driven enterprise. Based entirely on proven technology from Aspect’s comprehensive portfolio, while utilizing our latest next-generation components, the Aspect Via customer engagement platform brings the full convenience, security and reliability of the AWS cloud plus: 

  •  Native IM, WFO, and self-service capabilities
  • Common configuration and administration across all capabilities
  • Shared real-time and historical reporting across all capabilities
  • Personalized, role-based UX for agents, team leads, and administrators
  • Continuous delivery of new features through a reliable SOA cloud architecture
  • A rich set of APIs to support external integrations including dashboard widgets and CRM systems