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How to inject intelligence into your IVR

Sean Callahan, 5 minute read

As organizations build out self-service capabilities and adopt an omnichannel approach to customer service, traditional telephony can be easy to phone in (pun intended). Many contact centers aim to reduce their average handle time by deflecting customers away from the phone channel altogether, whether through self-service portals, AI-enabled chatbots, or agent-assisted messaging. Those are valid components of a strategy to deliver faster service and avoid agent burnout. But organizations should also consider how they can evolve telephony in a way that is still in keeping with those goals while providing customers with an experience that is familiar, but better.

The typical IVR has limited functionality, which can be frustrating for customers. As taxing as it is to sit through an hour of hold music, it is no better to fumble through clunky prompts that don’t offer resolutions and sometimes feel intentionally opaque, like the company doesn’t want you to ever reach the live agent.

But by applying the same self-service principles and AI tools to telephony that you use in chat and messaging, you can transform your IVR into a customer-handling asset that launches workflows, resolves issues, and offloads work.

What support does Pega provide for IVR?

Pega Customer Service (Pega CS) ships with IVR Bot, our AI-powered API that plugs into your existing IVR solution and injects a layer of case management and workflow automation. Pega Call, Pega's CTI gateway, is also included.

IVR Bot is powered by the same core technology that Pega uses in our Chat Bot and Email Bot solutions. That means customers can call into an organization, interface with IVR Bot to resolve requests like making a payment or changing an address, and if they still need to talk to an agent, the handover retains the context seamlessly. In fact, if that customer disconnects from IVR Bot and then engages the brand again through another channel – email or chat, for example – all the information is captured in one central hub. That is true whether the customer starts in the IVR and moves elsewhere, or vice versa.

Easily resolve one inquiry with Pega's IVR Bot, then escalate to an agent to complete a more complex workflow.

 

How to optimize your IVR

Organizations stand to benefit from embedding case management and automation into their existing IVR. That applies to legacy telephony systems, but also to more modern solutions from Contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) vendors. CCaaS can be a great option for organizations that need cloud-based telephony for their contact centers, and most will ship with an IVR. But these systems still fall short in executing resolutions for customers, offloading work from agents, and integrating seamlessly with the rest of the customer service ecosystem.

In addition, it’s important for brands to set up their IVR to best reflect the kinds of journeys their customers take and the outcomes they hope to deliver. There are two ways to achieve this end, both working in concert:

Take advantage of Pega CS case types and data models

Pega Customer Service comes in four vertical-focused flavors: Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and Communications. Each platform ships with built-in workflows and data models common to those industries. That means less time spent programming case types that are already obvious – like adding a dependent to an insurance policy – and therefore a faster overall deployment.

Build workflows with the customer journey in mind

For the remaining cases IVR Bot is enabled to handle, it’s important to consider the journey you want the customer to take. This is true for your entire CS strategy, and it’s the concept around which Pega CS is built:

  • Create workflows once, centrally
  • Apply those workflows to every channel
  • Make small adjustments as necessary
  • Understand your customers’ priorities and goals
  • Build workflows to service those priorities and goals

Remember, Pega helps you assemble a smarter IVR:

  1. Through Pega's IVR Bot – which ships with Customer Service Engagement Edition – Pega CS will integrate with your existing system, whether a softphone or a CCaaS.

    Pega CS does not provide telephony.
  2. Pega’s IVR Bot extends to the phone channel the same case management and workflow automation capabilities available in digital messaging, self-service, Conversational AI, and elsewhere in the Pega ecosystem.

  3. Telephony doesn’t need to be a drag on the rest of your CS infrastructure. Bring it up to speed by applying center-out logic and automation to all your channels so they reflect your customers’ priorities.

 

Don't Forget

About the Author

Sean Callahan, Product Marketing Manager, Customer Service

As Product Marketing Manager for Pega Customer Service, Sean Callahan helps the world’s largest, most complex enterprises deliver faster, better, and more efficient customer service experiences through AI and automation.

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