Every business has spent the past year reacting and adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and customer behavior. Contact centers and customer service has been a key focus for many, but one solution has delivered increasing ROI after the pandemic increased inbound call volumes and reduced contact center capacity.
Many businesses have recognized the need for customer service automation even before last year, but COVID-19 emphasized the importance of delivering self-service solutions through the voice channel. Already the most used channel customer service channel, inbound call volumes increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with the cost of live agent interactions and the continued customer preference for digital automation, it’s no wonder that customer service leaders are prioritizing self-service and automation technologies after the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for digital self-service offered through customer service voice channels has become a critical pain point and it’s best solved by Visual IVR solutions.
“A dramatic increase in inbound call volumes combined with the cost of live agent interactions and the continued customer preference for digital automation has created a critical pain point best solved by Visual IVR solutions.”
Increased Costs and Call Volumes
The customer service voice channel was already the most common channel before the pandemic, but COVID-19 created a dramatic increase in its usage. An analysis of millions of calls by analytics companyDialogtechsaw the year over year change from December 2019 to December 2020 increase across industries, with retail the highest increase at over 34%.
At the same time, hiring new contact center agents to handle this dramatic increase in call volumes is expensive and has become more difficult after the pandemic. The average fully loaded cost per call for a live agent customer service interaction is around $2.70-$5.60 (and even higher for smaller organizations).
The unfortunate news for businesses is that the cost isn’t going down any time soon. According toreportsfrom Customer Contact Central, “several call center outsourcing vendors have disclosed that training class show rates are down to 40%-50%, some as low as 20%.” Recruiting new agents will continue being difficult, keeping the cost per call high even as more and more customers call in to customer service. As modern contact centers strive to handle the sustained increase in call volumes, many have found the best solution: automated self-service platforms like Visual IVR.
Digital Self-Service As A Priority
As more customers call contact centers and fewer agents are around to answer, the gap between contact center capacity and inbound call volume grows. To alleviate this problem, many contact center leaders are opting for digital self-service solutions to automate their most common call types. According toGartner,“Migrating Contact Volume From Assisted to Self-Service Channels” was one of the most important priorities for 80% of customer service leaders in 2021, followed closely by “Automating Customer Service Processes.” It makes sense. Automated solutions are both cost effective, and reduce the number of calls reaching live agents.
In the post-COVID environment, consumers are looking for digital solutions just like contact center leaders. According toMcKinsey,“fully 75 percent of people using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to ‘normal.’” Businesses need to catch up to the market demand quickly. In their Customer Experience Trends Report 2020,Zendesk found,“69% of customers want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own,” but “less than 30% of companies offer self-service.”
“69% of customers want to resolve as many issues as possible on their own, but less than 30% of companies offer self-service.”
The Visual IVR Self-Service Solution
For contact center leaders looking to implement a digital self-service solution in their voice channel quickly, Visual IVR has become the clear best fit. When customers call a customer service line equipped with Visual IVR, the caller is provided with an option in the IVR to use self-service. When they choose it, Zappix or a partner sends a text message with a link to the Visual IVR. The customer then resolves the reason they called using their mobile phone, all in simple to use visual menus.
Sitting on top of traditional voice IVR systems, Visual IVR delivers engaging customer service to callers with common use cases. These common use cases create up to 80% of inbound call volumes at many contact centers. Deflecting these calls to Visual IVR leaves contact center agents available to handle more complex, empathy-driven interactions where their human skills and expertise provide the most value. 15-35% of callers opt in to Visual IVR self-service when they are presented with the option. With impressive containment rates averaging over 75%, a well designed and implementedVisual IVRsolution helps businesses enjoy great savings while improving their customers’ experiences and relieving the pressure created by post-COVID inbound call volumes.
Visual IVR is cost effective and quick to implement, with new solutions launching in under 4 weeks. This potent combination of effectiveness and low barrier to entry makes Visual IVR the perfect digital self-service solution to adopt in reaction to the situation modern contact centers are facing in today’s marketplace.
Visual IVR unlocks every feature of smartphones, letting callers easily upload photos or videos as well. Secure payment bot solutions mean payment information can be safely collected as well, a task that has complicated many interactions as agents have shifted to work-from-home scenarios where their processes might not comply with regulatory requirements.
As contact centers around the world focus on delivering high quality digital self-service solutions as quickly as possible, Visual IVR should be the first step towards digital transformation. Quick and easy to design, launch and implement, Visual IVR solutions meet customers where they are, delivering the self-service interactions they want through the channel they use most often. Visual IVR has clearly established itself as critical to digital transformation in 2021 and beyond.