Telephony AI vs. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Nowadays, technological solutions occupy their places in companies' contact centers and call centers, which save them both time and money. There is no longer direct contact with a live operator or another employee when you call a company helpdesk. Today, you are likely to encounter an IVR system (Interactive Voice Response) when making such a call. If you are more fortunate, your AI voice bot will be more responsive and friendly. However, what are its benefits, and why is artificial intelligence a better route?

Telephony AI vs. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Many people believe that IVR is an indispensable tool (although it is an evil necessity). It is believed by many that telephony bots will replace IVR completely within the next few years. One thing is certain - both tools offer advantages in terms of routing automated customer service calls.

What is an AI-Powered Telephony Bot?

Microsoft Bot Framework includes a telephony channel that allows the bot to communicate via phone. The Azure Bot Framework and the Azure Communication Services and Speech Services are combined to power this service. A public preview version of the Telephony Channel is available for all Azure subscriptions based in the United States.

In order to complement the sales and customer service teams' work, a telephone bot can receive calls and make sales calls to potential customers.

What can you do with a telephony (phone) bot?

Any business can incorporate AI-powered telephony bots in a variety of ways:

  • Businesses can use automated responses and recorded messages to answer calls.
  • Provide answers to frequently asked questions.
  •  Record callers' voice responses and transcriptions.
  • Transfer certain calls to another number.
  • Establish rules and conditions for filtering and directing conversations.
  • Telephony Bot can play recordings.
  • Gather information through surveys.
  • Collect payments by credit card.
  • Calls enqueued and dequeued
  • Make reservations and schedule appointments.

Benefits of AI-Powered Customer Service

The telephone bot is the modern-day cousin of the interactive voice response system. The system is similar to IVR, which routes contacting customers to the appropriate agent or department. The difference is the interaction with the customer, who can speak to the bot just like a real person.

It is also a good idea to use telephone bots to support people who prefer self-service options. There is no need to employ a human agent for simple queries that they are able to handle on their own. Conversational AI technology can listen to the customer's responses and handle the call appropriately.

More Efficient and Cost-Effective

Conversational AI can react quickly to customer questions and responses. An increased reaction time leads to a faster solution for the customer. As a result, positive customer experiences are increased.

Unlike a human, the Bot can handle hundreds of calls in a shorter amount of time. Thus increasing productivity. Automation efforts create a more cost-effective solution, so businesses can put human employees to use in other areas.

AI Telephony Bot is also built within a cloud system, so no invasive new hardware is needed.

What is IVR?

Business phone systems with IVR (interactive voice response) offer callers a menu of options via which information can be collected. Based on the keypad of the caller, it performs actions based on their answers.

IVR software systems can boost customer satisfaction and improve the efficiency of contact centers. IVR systems can help reduce hold time during high call volumes by helping customers find answers and perform simple tasks themselves. The IVR technology can help route customers who need or desire to speak to a person directly to the best call center agent to handle more complex issues.

An IVR is something you may be familiar with if you have ever called a business phone number and been answered by an automated message.

What Can You Do With IVR?

Calls are typically routed by IVRs using the choices made by the caller. This allows the caller to decide whether they want to reach the billing department, technical support, or just a human operator herself.

Additionally, its use is for providing promotional information, updates, or other important information or instructions. For instance, it might indicate that calls will be recorded and ask if the caller wants to continue.

As a traditional method of organizing call queues, it has only been used by call centers. Despite this, IVR systems have come a long way since their inception, and they are now often used for the automation of simple tasks in order to provide self-service options for customers. The purpose of this is to address simple customer issues and questions which call center agents normally handle.

Some simple tasks are:

  • Account balance inquiry
  • Getting account information
  • Change passwords or PIN numbers
  • Search for information (prices, directories, etc.)
  • Complete surveys and lead forms
  • Pay small amounts or transfer funds

Drawbacks of IVR

IVR systems have the biggest disadvantage of causing people to dislike talking to computers. Telephone menus and lengthy instructions can be difficult to follow for older adults. Also, a slow phone menu is frustrating to younger callers.

Businesses that only have a small number of menu options can better benefit from IVR than those that require more. For instance, if you have an FAQ menu of 10 questions, customers can navigate the call with some ease. But if you have 30 or hundreds of FAQ options, many callers may get frustrated before finding a resolution on their own.

This creates tension between the frustrated customer and (the eventual) human customer service agent once a connection is made.

Most traditional IVR systems require multiple "Press #1" type interactions to finally reach an answer. This can lead to avoidance of calls to customer service when the consumer has an issue. Every business should be easily accessible, and this is where traditional IVR falls short.

Some IVR systems also only provide branching of calls and don't collect necessary data or recordings.

Which is Best?

Both phone systems have their advantages and disadvantages. It's important to choose which works best for your business as far as service provided, productivity, and cost.

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