Customer Centricity

Visual IVR: Omnichannel’s best bet

In today’s world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is.

Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness and emotion. Customer service organizations address a smaller volume of simple voice-based customer contacts as they mature their self-service, automated engagement and digital operations.

Each year, new data comes out that indicates customer service and the customer experience (CX) are more important than ever. According to Forrester, 72% of businesses say that improving the customer experience is their top priority. A study from NewVoiceMedia indicates that companies lose more than $62 billion due to poor customer service. No company can afford to be a customer service laggard, and endless effort is invested in what leadership can do to ensure they stay competitive and relevant.

US companies are now losing $62 billion a year because of poor customer service – more than 51 percent and $20 billion increase since 2013.

Omnichannel is the industry buzzword that gave birth to a new flurry of activities. Companies are increasingly relying on this cross-channel business model to improve their customer experience. An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual customer touch-points, over a variety of channels that seamlessly connect, allowing customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another. In recent times, visual interactive voice response (Visual IVR) has been proven to be the most instrumental among the top omnichannel product offerings.

The smarter and strategic operations

However, there is a vertical shift we could see towards the online space, but voice is still used as the primary escalation channel – the experience delivered cannot be anything less than stellar. Forrester’s top 15 trends for customer service also suggests that across all demographics, voice is still the primary communication channel used. Visual IVR, is similar to interactive voice response (IVR) but with the addition of web-based visual content. It allows customers to transit from the voice channel to the digital channel with full context and functionally of the user’s request, in significantly reduced or no wait time. This offering is providing a means for those customers – coming to you by phone – to seamlessly transition (while still on the phone) to a web-based support experience designed to address the needs of the caller. The main USP of visual IVR is that it delivers a personalized and digital experience to voice callers, enabling a better customer experience and with improved self-services. This is highly relevant in a time when the firms are aiming to get up close and personal with the customer to offer a personalized experience, and thus increase the customer loyalty factor.


Solution outline:

When a customer connects the contact center and is presented with the IVR, the IVR will establish the connection and perform certain verifications, essentially the authentication and validation steps.

If the customer has passed the authentication and validation steps, then the IVR will ask the customer whether he or she wishes to perform the action via the visual component. If the customer agrees to use the visual component, then the IVR system will send an SMS to that customer. Within that SMS, a URL will be provided to the customer allowing them to access the page he or she has requested. Once the customer clicks on that link, it will direct them to their desired page. Then the customer is free to perform the necessary operation on the page. Upon completion of customer’s activity, a confirmation mail will be sent to the customer summarizing their most recent account changes.

Business benefits:

  • A streamlined self-service experience: Visual IVR essentially eliminates the need for speech recognition by allowing customers to touch their way through visual menus. Customers don’t need to listen to long menus and may quickly skip ahead to the information they need through the ease and convenience of their mobile devices. In addition, visual IVR enables customers to get into an agent queue when necessary.
  • Timesaving benefits for customers and contact centers: A caller can receive better information quicker and easier without being held in a queue or rerouted from one agent to another. Similarly, with effective call routing, visual IVR helps to reduce the call handling time substantially.
  • Collaborative calls: Calls that originate in the visual IVR are not only shorter but can also become a collaboration between the advisor and the customer. As the voice and visual IVR channels work in parallel – the advisor can get the full context and intent of the customer. For an even quicker resolution, the advisor can share relevant documents with the customer during the call, push content such as links, images and documents and if needed, even help the customer fill out a form together.
  • Helps to reduce contact center costs: Lastly, visual IVR is highly cost-efficient for a business to implement and to run. It helps agents to spend less time on the phone with customers and drive down costs on the voice channel. It is predicted that the likelihood of visual IVR call uptake is expected to be 30% of all calls for the products and services scoped routed to customer service agents.


In a nutshell we could say that bottleneck and peak time calls could be controlled better, and wait time for the customer could be minimized substantially with visual IVR capability. It enables the customers with a unique self-service option to expand their ownership on a service call. Visual IVR is both more personalized and personable, providing exactly what the customer needs when he or she needs it – this creates a truly multisensory service for a differentiated and enhanced customer experience.


    About The Author

    Senior Business Analyst - Tech Mahindra

    Ghosh is a specialist in end-to-end project coordination and management, managing project schedules, project finance and budgets, risks and ensuring timely project deliverables.

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