As businesses look to navigate the complex and unpredictable journey ahead, larger digital transformation initiatives may get bumped to the very bottom of the to-do list. That’s problematic, because if there’s anything we’ve collectively learned it’s that the companies that have embraced digital strategies are the ones that are thriving.
For everyone still on the path to digital, what’s needed are quick, low-lift wins. And if there’s one area to focus, it’s on the power of the customer experience. According to Bain & Company, companies that deliver a better customer experience have revenue 4 to 8 per cent above the rest of their market.
One way companies can more quickly and easily enhance their customer engagement is through tools like on-demand web apps, also called Visual Interactive Voice Response (VIVR). VIVR can provide a middle ground for businesses that have traditionally relied on live customer support processes (versus mobile technologies), but now find they must not only maximise a potentially limited customer service workforce, but deliver on consumers’ growing digital demands, in order to maintain customer service levels.
What is VIVR?
VIVR isn’t a new technology, but it is gaining new life as companies face the twin pressures of digital transformation and improved customer experiences – while also balancing limited budgets or quicker speed to market timeframes. Conceptually, it uses web applications to instantly create a mobile “app-like” experience during a contact centre-led customer support interaction, without requiring the caller to download a native application on their phone. Callers are asked if they’d like to switch to a mobile experience, they’re sent a link via SMS and voilà -- they’re using an app.
However, unlike a native mobile app (which can be ideal, but not always feasible), VIVR can be less complicated to ramp up and doesn’t require the contact to be initiated from within the app. This is especially valuable to businesses that do not offer an app or (for those that do have a native app) engaging customers that may have forgotten about the app. More importantly from a workforce standpoint, the technology can be used to seamlessly transfer live calls to and from an on-demand app in real time. That means customers can be efficiently (and happily) offered a mobile, digital self-serve experience, and any information collected during the call is then captured in the app, saving time for both customers and agents. Conversely, if a customer prefers to exit the mobile experience, they can easily transfer back to a live call.
According to Microsoft’s Global State of Multichannel Customer Service report, more than 90 per cent of consumers expect brands or organisations to have an online customer self-service offering, and 60 per cent say they have a more favourable view of a brand if that self-service offering is mobile responsive.
With VIVR, customers can interact through an entirely digital path, which not only satisfies their desire for (and familiarity with) connected self-service, but frees time for customer support staff to focus on more difficult cases. This VIVR experience also allows both companies and customers to take advantage of other digital benefits, such as mapping, location data, links to online resources, etc. that can ultimately make the experience richer and more accurate.
That last point is important to emphasize: the ability to type and use dropdowns in VIVR results in fewer data mistakes compared to either a voice or touchtone-based system. With more customers getting their input correct the first time, a better service experience can be delivered (for instance, there is less potential for customers bouncing from one department to the next).
VIVR improves customer engagement
Due to its ability to link up multiple forms of communication without losing key information along the way, VIVR boosts customer engagement:
- Efficiency: VIVR systems can offload and automate interaction, so live agents can spend more time with customers that have urgent concerns or need extra attention. And should a VIVR customer wish to transition back to live interaction, all information is already in the system, allowing a seamless transition.
- Omnichannel: VIVR also goes beyond phone assistance to enable multichannel communication options for customers, including smartphone browsers, mobile apps, SMS, and desktops. VIVR enables modern users to access platforms with ease and can encourage familiarity and usage of mobile apps, seeding the ground for future digital engagements.
- Simplicity: VIVR can automatically detect if the consumer is using a mobile phone and send a text link to seamlessly shift the consumer into a step-by-step digital experience. This takes out the extra steps of providing a mobile phone number or connecting with an agent before being directed to the app.
- Responsiveness: While waiting on hold is common for a customer trying to reach a call agent, VIVR effectively eliminates call queues and wait times. Instead of dialling customer service and waiting for an agent to answer, customers can input their information into the on demand app at their own speed. Once they have progressed through the experience on their device, an agent can reach out to them, if needed, without any wait time.
- Accurate location data: In appropriate use cases, VIVR can also automatically detect a customer’s location, reducing the frustration and delay associated with inaccurate location information.
VIVR In action
VIVR solutions can be built, launched, branded and used effectively by companies to deliver a digital, touchless, yet high quality customer service experience during times of high stress. One real world example: customers needing roadside assistance to get vehicles up and moving again quickly, where VIVR allows consumers to submit roadside service requests across platforms.
In this instance, after putting in a call for roadside assistance, customers are asked if they’d prefer to use an app to complete the process, and then sent a link via text. Once in the app, the location is automatically captured, and customers can move a pin on a map to adjust their location if needed, then further specify their location type (highway, parking lot, etc.), and problem type (flat tire, battery, out of fuel, etc.). After this part of the process is completed, customers can choose to get updates via text or phone call with time estimations for the service provider’s arrival.
Real world data for this particular scenario shows that across the board, over 77 per cent of consumers that are offered VIVR chose to opt in. Not only are these customers able to access a digital workflow even though they start the process with a phone call, but their overall net promotor score (NPS) of the service event is an average of five points higher than users of non-digital channels.
Scoring a quick digital win
Customers remember brands who are able to resolve their problems quickly and effectively. That’s all the truer when customers are in need (or even in crisis). As companies are finding in this digital-forward age, there are many technologies to choose from that can enhance customer engagement, such as mobile apps, AI, automation and more. Yet it’s as important to score quick digital wins that benefit both customers and employees. VIVR offers just such a solution for companies looking for a way to deliver hassle-free customer service to today’s tech-savvy consumers.
Mathieu Pirio, Product Manager, Agero