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Think of the last time you called a business –no matter why you called, odds are that you interacted with an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. These IVRs present you with several options, and sometimes layers of options, to get you to the right answer or call center agent to talk to. Some IVRs can be relatively painless to use – businesses spend a lot of time and money making them as easy to navigate as possible, but for larger companies this isn’t always the right answer.
According to a new 2018 survey, 83% of respondents said they would avoid a company after a poor experience with an IVR. When was the last time you used an IVR and had the experience improve your perception of the business you called? Probably never.
It’s time to change things. Watson Assistant is a service which can interact with end users using natural language, and is already in use for text-based interactions. While messaging has become increasingly important in customer service today, the voice channel is still essential. We have made both channels easily accessible with IBM Voice Agent, a solution that makes phone based interactions over Watson Assistant possible using Voice Gateway technology.
By using Voice Agent, you can have Watson Assistant replacing or working alongside your existing IVR –have callers immediately talk to a virtual assistant, or have Watson sitting behind certain menu choices. Watson Assistant can be used to improve call containment, reduce the time needed to get to the answer a caller needs and assist human agents while they talk to callers. With this technology, interactions with customers can become more personable–if a caller has registered their phone number with your business, Watson can look up their first name, and greet them with it when it answers. By connecting Watson to other CRM systems, you can have it look up customer specific information, make orders and initiate other business processes.
If you would like to improve your contact center experience with Watson you can do so at your own pace –you don’t need to replace everything at once. You can simply start by using Watson to answer one or two questions either behind existing IVR menus, or by assigning a number specifically for talking to Watson.
Customer service evolution with AI can be a gradual process, and the first step was learning about what options you have – the next step is trying it for yourself. You can create a Voice Agent with Watson Assistant in a few minutes on the IBM Cloud.
Explore how Voice Gateway can enhance your call center.