IVR Best Practices


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Presentation given on September 30, 2010, by Ahmed Bouzid, head of Product at Angel.

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IVR Best Practices

  1. 1. Be an IVR Rock Star:Be an IVR Rock Star: Best Practices For Building World-Class Voice Applications Dr. Ahmed Bouzid Director of Product, Angel
  2. 2. Angel Company Overview • Founded in 1999 as a BU of MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) • Patented IVR Technology: 25+ granted • Over 1,000 customers in 20 different industries • Over 10,000 applications deployed including many of nation’s top consumer brands 11/26/20102 • Industry Awards for Technology Excellence:
  3. 3. Agenda 1. Introduction – Why people hate IVRs – Why IVRs – For the enterprise and callers – People don’t hate self-service, they hate bad automation 2. The Three Challenges of IVR – Automation is imposed on the user – There is a constrained nature of VUI 11/26/20103 – System is simulating uniquely human behavior 3. The Caller First Philosophy – Rapid development allowing for design and testing – Leveraging data about callers – Leveraging data about the application 4. Intelligent Behavior – Examples of intelligent behavior – Some scenarios
  4. 4. Why People Don’t Like IVRs 1. You are asked by the agent to repeat information that you already provided to the IVR. 2. You can’t tell what option in the menu is the right one to choose. 3. It gives you a long menu when you always ask for the same thing. 4. You are made to wait a long time only to be routed to voice mail. 5. You wait a long time only to discover that you are in the wrong queue. 11/26/20104 6. You are bounced around from one IVR system to another IVR system. 7. You are made to listen to several minutes of nonsense before you are offered anything that you care about. 8. The IVR system asks you to call at a later time and then hangs up on you.
  5. 5. Why IVRs: For the Enterprise Handle volume: Never enough people to staff a call center. Reduce costs: Deflect calls from expensive agents. Increase revenue: Systematic up-selling, cross-selling. Increase agent satisfaction: push complex tasks to agents. 11/26/20105 Systematic tracking of calls/activities: What services, products selected. Customer Satisfaction: Serving the client off hours. Scalability: crisis, peaks.
  6. 6. Why IVRs: For Callers No waiting: empowering self-service. Facilitate task completion: logging notes into CRM by speaking. Privacy: sensitive information (test results). Security: Providing credit card information. 11/26/20106 Security: Providing credit card information. 24x7x365: Convenience of access. Being able to take your time: not rushed by human Speed of task completion: When you know what to do and just need to do it. Not being sold by a human: Turning down computer is easier.
  7. 7. People Don’t Hate Self-Service 11/26/20107
  8. 8. People Like to be Empowered 11/26/20108
  9. 9. • ATMs – Haven’t evolved much • NOT attractive or highly branded • They can cost you money! • NOT well-designed – Language choice every time Automation People Like… Why? – Language choice every time – Doesn’t learn my behavior – Sometimes bugs me with ads 11/26/20109
  10. 10. • One ATM similar to the next • High exposure – ATMs are everywhere • Sets clear expectations • People make a choice to use it Learning from the ATM • They know it will be faster than talking to a human 11/26/201010
  11. 11. • Automation is imposed on the user • Constrained nature of interface • System is simulating uniquely human behavior Three Fundamental Challenges with IVR 11/26/201011 • System is simulating uniquely human behavior
  12. 12. IVR imposes itself on the caller • Starting on the wrong note…. • Humans are seldom given a choice with IVRs 11/26/201012
  13. 13. Constrained nature of VUI • Time linear – You must patiently listen to one word before you can hear the one that follows it • Unidirectional – When you hear something, you can’t 11/26/201013 something, you can’t easily go back and listen to it again • Non-visible – You can't easily figure out where precisely you are in the interaction and what exactly the system expects you to do next
  14. 14. Simulating Human Behavior Spoken language interaction is charged with meaning • Disrespect • Inconsistency • Thoughtlessness 11/26/201014 • Thoughtlessness
  15. 15. Disrespect…. • Space: verbose prompts • Freedom: not letting them get to human • Truth: lying to them about getting to a human • Responsibility: blaming them for failure 11/26/201015
  16. 16. Inconsistency…. • In language • In voice • In modality • Across menus 11/26/201016
  17. 17. Thoughtlessness…. • Who is the caller? • What does the caller like? • What does the caller know? • What does the caller want? 11/26/201017 • How is the caller feeling?
  18. 18. 11/26/201018
  19. 19. • Calling retail store phone number on a Sunday afternoon • They made a purchase two days ago • It is afternoon, they called two hours ago about a trouble ticket. The ticket was originally opened the day before. The ticket is not resolved yet • 80% of the caller’s calls are about getting account balance Some Scenarios 11/26/201019 • Calling the power company after a power outage • 75% of callers were at web before going to IVR • Caller has a history of zero-ing out immediately • Caller gave poor marks to the last agent they spoke with • ISP service went down 10 minutes ago….
  20. 20. DesignTesting Design Dev Testing The Caller First Philosophy 11/26/201020 Caller First Dev Caller Last
  21. 21. Traditional IVR Build Process vs. Caller First Iterative Approach Develop Deploy Test Define Build TestRefine 11/26/201021 Measure Review REPEAT! Measure Traditional IVR means millions in up front investment and months of deployment, testing, and getting it wrong… Angel’s Site Builder enables iterations in days vs. months, enabling organizations to focus on strategic aspects of business and successively getting it right…
  22. 22. • Reduced deployment times and costs • Real-time updates and changes to voice applications • Iterative fine-tuning and testing of voice applications Rapid Voice Application Development 11/26/201022 applications • Easy integration with backend systems and data • Full transparency; Site Builder is used by Angel Professional Services, partners, and customers alike
  23. 23. • Requirements Gathering and Analysis Understand the problems that need to be solved, and know the calling population that will be using the applications – Conduct expert review of existing functionality – Listen to live calls in the call center, debrief with live agents • Uncover pain points and monotonous calls • Listen for terminology used The Design Process: Step 1 • Understand why agents “say it that way” – Interview key stakeholders about the underlying business objectives • Brand considerations • Legal considerations – Match business goals with caller goals – Identify available customer data to drive interactions 11/26/201023 Angel gains enough knowledge about your business to apply our creativity, prior experience, and best practices to designing the right application.
  24. 24. • High Level Design Convey the design vision for the application in a format that can be easily socialized throughout the client organization. – Provide a complete set of call flow diagrams • Microsoft Visio diagrams • Every “page” or step in the application depicted • Connectors to show what callers say to navigate to the next step – Create a representative set of sample calls The Design Process: Step 2 – Create a representative set of sample calls • Show what a typical call to the application would sound like • “System says…” “Caller says…” • Show the actual language that the application will use • Illustrate the most common paths through the application 11/26/201024 High-level design: Allows Angel to convey our vision to customers, and allows customers to socialize our vision amongst their team.
  25. 25. • Detailed Design Add the final level of detail to the high level design once the overall vision is agreed upon. – Provide a detailed design document • Separate set of prompts for every block in the call flow diagrams • Show every prompt needed to support the design • All no-match prompts, no-input prompts transfer prompts, etc. • Final recording list is generated from this spreadsheet The Design Process: Step 3 • Final recording list is generated from this spreadsheet • Every word must have a purpose! 11/26/201025 Detailed Design: Everything the developer needs to build the application using the Site Builder toolkit.
  26. 26. • Audio Production Create a full set of recorded prompts for the application. – Choose voice talent to represent the brand – Coach voice talent to convey meaning/persona – Record all prompts needed for a complete application • Application prompts (text from detailed design doc) • All prompts for information play out (digit strings, dates, currency) The Design Process: Step 4 • All prompts for information play out (digit strings, dates, currency) • Any non-speech audio (audio icons, branded audio) 11/26/201026 Angel designers work with voice talents to ensure that our carefully crafted prompts are conveyed accurately, while extending your company’s brand.
  27. 27. • Call Analysis Post deployment: Observe the application in action to measure and improve success rates – Quantitative analysis – how are callers using it? • Usage statistics • Most common failure points • Containment rates – Qualitative analysis – full call recordings The Design Process: Step 5 – Qualitative analysis – full call recordings • Design listens to recorded calls (both sides of the conversation) • Measure success rates (Did they accomplish their task?) • Identify areas for improvement 11/26/201027 The tuning phase gives us a chance to iterate on the original design and improve the application.
  28. 28. Data is Key…. • Data about the callers • Data about the application 11/26/201028
  29. 29. • User Profile • Recent User Activity • Call Initiation Context • Call Population Distribution Data Connectivity 11/26/201029
  30. 30. • Value to the Enterprise • Experience using the system • Disposition towards using the system • Age/Gender User Profile 11/26/201030 • Age/Gender • Language • Emotional state
  31. 31. • Past reasons for calling • Resolution outcome of last transaction • Agent spoken with last time Recent Call Activity 11/26/201031 • Agent spoken with last time • How long they waited last time? • Were they satisfied with call outcome?
  32. 32. • Where are they calling from (zip code, area code, lat-long) • What medium are they using: land line, cell, desktop (e.g., Skype) • Calling into a number that was Call Initiation Context 11/26/201032 • Calling into a number that was advertised in a billboard, web site, billing slip, TV/Radio commercial • Calling from noisy train station
  33. 33. • Most frequent requests across caller population • Request distribution across profiles • Time-sensitive requests Call Population Distribution 11/26/201033 • Time-sensitive requests • Event-triggered requests • Call context distribution across callers: most callers were in web?
  34. 34. Data About the Application 11/26/201034 • Automation rates • Hang ups • No input/No match • Zero outs • Long calls • Short calls
  35. 35. Screen shot of Call Volume (showing peaks) 11/26/201035
  36. 36. Intelligent behavior…. 11/26/201036 Intelligent behavior….
  37. 37. • Avoid “Main Menu” – “Are you calling to change your address?” • When you provide a menu, order options intelligently Informed First Option Offering 11/26/201037 • When you provide a menu, keep list to 3 items
  38. 38. • Don’t offer nonsensical options: – New prospect being offered option to talk to billing • Offer options the caller cares about: – Telling callers with a large checking account balance about the newly launched high-yield CD – Over draft protection for callers with a dangerously low balance Offer Only Relevant Options 11/26/201038 – Over draft protection for callers with a dangerously low balance
  39. 39. • Event triggered • Most recent action Volunteering Relevant Information 11/26/201039 • Most likely across callers: the 80/20 rule
  40. 40. Wording, Pacing, and Persona • No more and no less than what needs to be said • Slow down or speed up prompt pace • Right persona for right profile 11/26/201040
  41. 41. • Unhappy Callers • VIP Callers Bump Up Caller Queue Priority 11/26/201041 • VIP Callers
  42. 42. • Caller is probably irritated or unhappy, in distress • Caller has a history of doing badly with the application Bypass Automation 11/26/201042 badly with the application • Caller is calling from a noisy environment
  43. 43. • Knows who you are… • Caters to your preferences… A Caller FirstSM IVR: Putting the Caller FirstSM 11/26/201043 Kate, your anniversary is next week. Send a gift? 888-692-6435 • Anticipates your needs… • Serves you fast! • Respects your time…
  44. 44. Thanks for joining us. After the webinar you will each receive the Angel White Paper: “Driving Performance with Embedded BI in Your Voice Application” Q & A 11/26/201044 Ahmed Bouzid Director of Product bouzid@angel.com 888-662-4955 Q & ASchedule a Demo: http://www.angel.com/schedule-demo.jsp