Killing time on hold; customer experience in the age of IVA

By Callan Schebella, Executive Vice President of Product, Five9

In the words of Charles Darwin, “a man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of life”.  Brands that dare waste their customers’ time do not understand the value of customer experience and loyalty. However, too many brands are playing fast and loose with time, causing us to lose days of our lives on hold. This black hole not only swallows a company’s resources but has a long-term impact on customer loyalty and ultimately, the bottom line.

Much-needed change is here. AI and voice automation are calling time on hold, not just delivering a superior customer experience but also paying dividends for employees and organisational budgets. Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) can automate huge swathes of calls usually handled by a human agent in charge of a line of customers, many who may be frustrated and waiting on hold. Now, IVAs are replacing that lost time with instant service, using voice automation to deliver conversational self-service capabilities in numerous languages.

Not only can human-like virtual agents make instant decisions and instigate immediate service for customers; they are can also discern a customer’s mood using sentiment analysis and respond appropriately. They make light work of routine service requests, including order updates and booking appointments, and leave their human colleagues open to help solve more complex and sensitive matters.

Intelligent, not robotic 

IVAs are also becoming increasingly life-like, which helps customers feel at ease with them. Brands can now create automated self-service experiences using synthesized human voices, including the voice of company spokesperson or a voice actor with key vocal traits that represent their brand.

A synthesised voice is indistinguishable from the original. While this represents the cutting-edge of IVA, organisations are adopting varying technology models to solve their specific business challenges. For example, pre-built IVA application templates can be integrated via low-code platforms. These platforms enable non-technical users to launch IVAs with minimal experience, kick-starting customised IVA deployments rapidly.

A boom is already underway. The use of Five9 IVAs has increased 180 percent in the last year with large retailers, insurance companies, banks, local businesses, and local governments using IVA technology to fulfill customer needs quickly and efficiently.

It is not just customers that benefit from the introduction of IVAs. Employees too reap the rewards of digital colleagues. IVAs help their vital human counterparts dedicate time to more meaningful and fulfilling work.

The IVA revolution is a win-win for the customer, employee and organisation, reducing wasted time on hold and delivering superior experiences for all. Now is the moment to act intelligently, with virtual agents as your allies in the pursuit of time and resources well-spent.

 

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