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Designing Effective IVAs Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Keys to Designing Effective IVAs

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Introd­uction: IVA Best Practices

Enterp­rises that use IVAs should be transp­arent to their customers that they’re intera­cting with a self-s­ervice solution. As this may surprise some users, the next step, might be to ask for the chance to prove that the IVA can meet their needs. Many people will like the challenge; others will still want to bypass the system. Let them.

Here are 11 best practices for implem­enting an effective IVA.

Best Practices

1. Be transp­arent: As noted above, you should make it as clear as possible to your customers that they are intera­cting with an IVA or bot, not a live agent.
2. Keep it simple: Make the IVA experience as straig­htf­orward and effortless as you can.
3. Don’t try to “boil the ocean”: Identify the top 20% of self-s­ervice activities that typically address 80% of customer issues­/in­quiries and make them part of your IVA.
4. Keep it real: Keep the conver­sat­ional aspects of the IVA as natural and friendly as possible, in all channels.
5. Make it personal: Leverage customer data from all available sources to person­alize IVA intera­ctions and have your IVA “remember” customer prefer­ences, and build the integr­ations that will allow your IVA to provide such experi­ences.
6. Respect customer prefer­ences: Closely related to No. 5, make sure that it knows your customers’ prefer­ences and allows them to interact in their channel of choice.
7. Be consistent in all channels: Optimize the IVA for each channel it supports, but provide the same inform­ation and options to promote a consistent customer and brand experi­ence.
8. Think like your customers: When designing the IVA conver­sation, look at intera­ctions from your customers’ perspe­ctive, priori­tizing their needs and using their language.
9. Be willing to apologize: When the IVA does not understand what it is being asked to do, script it to apologize, and transfer the call to a live agent. The IVA should always explicitly notify customers when they are being transf­erred.
10. Make it easy for customers to request a live agent: Customers should be permitted to request a live agent at any point in a conver­sation. Additi­onally, build in transfer logic so customers are transf­erred automa­tically when the IVA decides it’s necessary (and as noted above, tell them).
11. Keep the content current: Establ­ishing a systematic method for updating and mainta­ining the knowledge used by the system is essential, as a fresh, current IVA is one that customers will continue to see value in intera­cting with.

Intera­ctive Voice Response

Final Thoughts on IVAs

IVAs are ushering in a new era of omnich­annel self-s­ervice applic­ations powered by natural language processing (NLP)/­natural language unders­tanding (NLU), speech recogn­ition, artificial intell­igence, machine learning, and more. Designed to emulate human conver­sations and intera­ctions, IVAs can provide guided, conver­sat­ional assistance for many activi­ties, including customer service, help desk functions, product inform­ation, marketing, and sales, for a wide variety of verticals. True IVAs are self-l­ear­ning; they get “smarter” over time, adapt to individual prefer­ences, and deliver an intell­igent, person­alized and engaging customer experi­ence. Using the above best practices will greatly improve your company’s chances of succeeding with these powerful and highly beneficial solutions.