What is a Visual IVR?
A Visual IVR (Visual – Interactive Voice Response) system is an alternative to voice dtmf-based IVR in place in most contact centers/support departments, today. Since most people dial-in using a smart phone, callers can be provided with a visual interface with options that they can touch and select instead of making them listen to many options on the phone.
The same IVR menu which used to say, ‘Dial 1 for pre-paid, 2 for post-paid, 3 for 3G’, etc. will now appear on the smartphone screen. The user will go through the available options and select one. Based on their selection, they could be provided with more options or an action like call transfer to an agent.
How does a Visual IVR work?
A user calls the support/contact center phone number (regular land-line or 1800 nos – not VoIP). The customer is connected to the voice IVR and also receives an SMS on his phone with a link to the Visual IVR Interface. When clicked, Visual IVR opens in a browser.
Instead of continuing through voice, the customer can just click through the menu items on his screen to – select a self-service option, initiate a call back, or just speak to an agent. This is how Jacada, a popular Visual IVR provider, implements it. See the above embedded video to get a better idea.
Advantages of Visual IVR Systems:
- Operating the touch screen of a Visual IVR system is much faster than listening to a voice IVR and pressing keys on a phone. Both forward and backward navigation from any menu is much easier.
- Due to the increased speed, contact centers can offer more options and more levels without irritating callers. This helps route the call more appropriately – either to the right agent or to a more accurate self-service resource.
- Identity verification is easier and faster.
- Companies can engage callers on the queue better by offering them files, videos or marketing messages. They can even display the time remaining and give them a call-back option.
- Visual IVR systems can integrate with existing dtmf-based Voice IVRs and use the same Voice XML code.
- It is easier to collect more information/feedback from the customer.
- It is possible to integrate Visual IVR systems with an existing app or a website so that the customer can launch Visual IVR and interact with them in those channels.
- Some Visual IVR solutions can be integrated with popular Contact Center software.
- Visual IVR works only with landline numbers, not VoIP numbers.
- It works only with smart phones and not the landline phones (analog and IP) found in many companies.
- Additional data charges are applicable, especially if the customer receives multimedia-based self service options. Also, the caller needs an active data connection for Visual IVR to work.
- This technology may not integrate with multiple support options like chat, web-forms, email, mobile app, etc., at least not natively.
- The ability to co-browse a system along with the caller, for an agent to be able to directly help the customer is not available.
- Some companies discourage customers from talking to agents by keeping the talk-to-an-agent option hidden or long-winded to reach. Maybe they prefer customers opting for other forms of support like email, etc. Or just not contact support at all! With Visual IVR, this maybe difficult to achieve 😉
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