How to Get the Most Out of Conversational AI for Your Next-Gen IVR

Conversational AI, IVR, cloud contact center

Customer expectations aren’t waning—especially when they contact you. With an ever-increasing volume of customer interactions reaching the contact center, brands need to be able to respond to and resolve inquiries quickly. According to research from Execs In The Know,1 54 percent of brands believe that receiving good customer care creates loyal customers. However, only 42 percent of respondents believe their CX operations translate to improved loyalty. 

Finding the seamless connection between automation and personalization to create a consistent and low-effort customer experience is key to long-term customer loyalty. Next-gen IVR with conversational AI can help automate many of the tasks your advisors currently handle, while providing the personalization customers need and expect.

Some of the benefits of next-gen IVR with conversational AI include:

  • Reduced wait times for customers
  • More efficient handling of customer interactions
  • Increased first-call resolution rates
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Improved routing to specialized advisors

To take advantage of these benefits, you’ll need to implement a robust and scalable solution that can handle the increased volume of customer interactions. First, companies must determine their goals for implementing conversational AI into the customer experience. Next-gen conversational AI is more than just offering customers a series of prompts. It involves defining which scenarios are best suited for conversational AI, and building the interaction in a way that provides a personalized and friendly customer experience.

The driving force behind these automated interactions is bots with natural language understanding (NLU) underpinning. These bots engage with customers and allow them to state why they are calling, rather than providing a list of response options to select from. Leaving out either the conversational prompting or NLU part of the technology leaves the experience lacking. Using conversational prompting without NLU can result in poor recognition of what the customer is saying, and critical information provided during the interaction cannot be saved. Information about the customer’s experience can still be passed to an advisor without NLU, but bits of detail uttered by the customer are often lost. On the other hand, NLU without conversational prompting often creates a tone that isn’t warm and friendly, which can come off as lacking personalization in the customer experience.

The combined use of NLU and conversational prompts provides quick and easy handling of order inquiries, appointment details and rescheduling, balance inquiries, payment activities, etc. These types of interactions don’t necessarily require human interaction. When conversational prompting is combined with NLU technology, the bot can access customer information quickly, and the customer can use their own language style to ask or respond to questions. Advisors can focus on more complex issues that require a little more customer care. However, even if an initial customer engagement ultimately requires assistance from an advisor, the conversation history comes with the customer. The customer doesn’t have to repeat information, and the advisor can dive into resolving their issue immediately. By using conversational AI, businesses can provide their customers with a more personalized experience that better meets their needs.


Concentrix recently helped one client improve its customer experience through next-gen IVR technology with conversational AI, increasing IVR containment to 35 percent—against an initial goal of 15 percent—within the first few weeks after deployment. Based on our expertise and thoughtful approach, the client was confident to move forward with our recommendations and provide a truly transformative experience for their customers. Learn more about this partnership in our case study.

As with any automation technology, the results are only as good as the planning that goes into the implementation. Conversational AI and NLU capabilities provide consistent and personalized experiences that drive efficiencies and customer loyalty. Still, a great deal of design must be considered before launching new technology into your business.

Some considerations when looking at conversational AI for your brand:

  • Think through how you want the technology to interact with your customers
  • Determine what part of the business would most benefit from implementing conversational AI technology
  • Decide what information should be captured and carried with the conversation
  • Build out as many intents as possible
  • Understand what and how many contact reasons are occurring today and how advisors are resolving those issues
  • Use contact reason data to identify high impact/low effort opportunities
  • Use warm, friendly, and casual language
  • Always provide an easy exit for customers who aren’t comfortable with using the technology

Many other details need to be reviewed as you determine what level of automation is right for your business. The key to success is having a partner with the expertise and proven processes to walk you through the steps needed to determine what is right for your business, and where technology will make the most significant impact to meet strategic goals. Conversational AI can transform your customer experience and CX operations when implemented through a strategic and thoughtful process.

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