Visual IVR: when voice is complemented by digital

I’ve seen many discussions on forums and groups, all around the concept of visual IVR, that “thing” that will enhance your unfortunate experience with an automated voice script, by adding some visual media to convey more complex messages and data, helping you out of the maze, sometimes even directly into the hands of a journey- savvy live operator on the phone.

visualIVR

Self-service ivr has been around for a while and will not die soon, for the following reasons:

– it’s relatively cheap

– it’s real-time communication

– its interface is one that everyone is able to use: the telephone or the voice.

On the other hand, a visual IVR will fix some of the issues that the old ivr inherently attached to the interaction: what if the information I am receiving is too long or too complex to be listed on the phone? What if the information I need to provide is also impossible to convey over the phone to an automated attendant?

I was recently involved in a project that aims replacing data-entry by giving users the ability to fill their application forms on-line, directly through a link to a mobile web page sent via text SMS.

How convenient that I can have my form immediately displayed on my smartphone! And change the information in the form without having to listen to endless choices or screaming into a recognition system with the wrong vocabulary or too much background noise to understand what I say!

With time, we already know the voice behind the visual will become redundant; but it helped train a demographic that was resistant to web or mobile web in the beginning. So if anything can help me do all of that, be welcome whatever the naming convention used!

Sometimes we need to plan for the early obsolescence of an emerging technology just because the process itself will bring value and experience to the customers and its real meaning is not in using it but rather in unlearning it.

Email as a (bad) automated service?

Dear Big Credit Card Corporation,

being a customer of yours since the late 90’s (which incidentally and sadly also gives away my age), I think I gave you enough fees to have me granted a decent customer care when my name appears today in a new card request.

Instead, I get an automated, impersonal message where it is clear that none of your (sophisticated?) systems put together that, with the same name, personal information and postal address, I am indeed the same person currently using another card.paperino

Plus, when I take the time to respond, very politely, that you should _not_ ask such stupid questions as you should just make the effort of a quick search in your own database, then the ultimate insult surfaces: another automated email, identical to the first!!!! As if your script does not even bother to check what has been previously sent!!!

Apparently there is some more automation as I then get the same email after 5 days, so this means somewhere in your systems you must know what’s going on…or maybe you are really completely in the dark and keep sending the same email over and over.

Is this a joke? Are you telling me that in twenty-fifteen you cannot join two databases and understand that the same person is requesting another card? That you, a finance institution, of all the companies, don’t have enough resources for proper customer care and a decent customer experience via email????

Dear Big Credit Card Corporation, I am so disappointed and sad, that I will just avoid answering your emails and will wait for your systems, if ever, to kick in and contact me properly. Meanwhile, please go and check around some best practices of customer experience via digital channels: this may help with your evident struggle.

Kind regards,

a customer