Can voice recognition and IVR technologies ever replace live human response?
The automation possibilities offered by IVR and speech recognition technologies seem to answer the prayers of many business owners. IVR and voice recognition programs provide business owners with the ability to manage functioning phone systems with significantly smaller live staff than traditional call center solutions, and the promise of smaller staff holds. translates directly into the promise of significant cost savings.
However, running a successful business isn’t all about keeping an eye on the bottom line. While IVR and speech recognition technologies offer an acceptable solution to a limited number of organizational problems, they should not be seen as a quick fix for everyone. part of every company’s telephone systems.
The limits of IVR and speech recognition technologies
IVR and speech recognition technologies have come a long way since their adoption by call centers in the 1970s. These technologies are now able to identify spoken words and sentences with a much higher degree of accuracy than ever, allowing businesses to build larger and more flexible automated response systems than they could a decade ago. The technology itself is very promising, and IVR algorithms are getting more and more sophisticated. Its ability to integrate with business applications opens up a whole new area of possibilities for businesses of all sizes.
However, despite all of their advancements, traditional IVR technologies are not yet capable of replicating the level of intelligence and conversational flexibility of a human being. If your phone system requires more than just entering yes / no answers or selecting from a list of multiple choice options, basic IVR technology will not be able to meet your caller’s needs.
When the IVR works
Now, you’d be hard pressed to find a modern call center that doesn’t use some form of IVR – and for good reason! IVR technology provides an effective and efficient solution to identify the general needs of a caller, to route that caller to the correct telephone line and to precisely queue them on that line.
As long as identification, routing and queuing can be accomplished by speaking a few single words or entering characters on a keyboard, the use of IVR technology is justified. In fact, for these simple tasks IVR technology can (arguably) do a better job than a human, especially in the face of a high volume of incoming calls.
Where IVR solutions fail
There are two main avenues where IVR technology does not keep its promise:
- IVR systems only recognize responses for which they are programmed.
- Most callers find IVR technology frustrating to navigate.
Likewise, an IVR system is functionally limited by the ability of each caller to effectively navigate its branches. In practice, every IVR system works like an elaborate type of guessing game.
- On the one hand, you have business owners trying to provide automated solutions for needs that their callers haven’t yet expressed.
- On the other side, you have callers trying to figure out what seemingly arbitrary sequence of answers will lead them to the answers they need.
Is it any wonder that most callers find IVR systems frustrating to navigate, especially compared to talking with a living human being? Most traditional IVR systems have yet to evolve to the level of flexibility and problem-solving ability of a live call center operator.
The Bottom Line on IVR and Speech Recognition Technology
IVR solutions are a “necessary evil” for large businesses and organizations that receive high volume calls every day and play an integral, albeit limited, role in most modern PBX systems. But every organization, especially small and medium-sized businesses, should limit their phone system’s IVR usage to the absolute minimum.
Completely integrated IVR solutions can reduce operational costs, but they do so at the expense of your organization’s quality of customer service. And in the end, NO organization will last long if it does not adequately meet the needs of its customers, no matter how many costs that organization reduces.
Source by Sam Rozenfeld