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API Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Rishi Bhargava, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

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Intelligent Virtual Assistants Rescuing Consumers from Frustrating IVR Interactions

Nobody likes talking to an automated phone system. In fact, in a recent report conducted by New York University, 83% of customers stop giving business to companies with bad IVR systems and 70% of customers will share their bad IVR experience with friends and family and will use social media networks to voice their frustrations (just search ‘I hate IVRs’ on Google).

IVA vs. IVR Showdown (Photo: Business Wire)

IVA vs. IVR Showdown (Photo: Business Wire)

Created in the early 70’s, IVR technology afforded companies the advantage of offering 24/7 access to a variety of services and information via the phone. The mainstream adoption of these systems in the 90’s further drove consumers’ appetite for anytime access. Much like most self-service platforms of the past, IVR systems were not designed to provide a positive customer experience, but rather to allow customers to complete simple tasks at extended company hours.

“Companies are finding that delivering a richer, more robust experience on their websites and mobile applications results in higher conversion and engagement rates,” said Fred Brown, Next IT CEO. “Today’s competitive brands know that owning the customer experience will put them on top, every time. That means bucking traditional self-service by offering a technology that consumers prefer.”

IVAs Put Customers First

Brown’s right: According to Forrester, today’s customers expect efficient, consistent, personalized services across all service channels – something that IVRs simply were not designed to achieve. Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs), like the ones built by Next IT, are different because they are designed with the end user in mind. They serve as brand advocates, are user-driven, conversational, available across channels and don’t force users through a pre-determined menu. Check out the “Customer Experience Tech Showdown” infographic to see a side-by-side comparison of the two technologies.

“IVR companies are realizing they can’t compete with free-flowing, unconfined solutions and they have started looking at ways to replicate the experience delivered by IVAs,” Brown continued. “The issue they will meet is that the IVR doesn’t simply become an IVA.”

Next IT clients using IVAs as a first customer-engagement point on their websites and mobile platforms are enjoying increased customer satisfaction, over $45 in revenue per interaction and up to 30% reduction in call volume to call centers and IVR systems, resulting in over $2 million per year saved – results that are not being ignored by leading research firms and publications like Gartner Research, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

About Next IT

Next IT is the world’s largest provider of Intelligent Virtual Assistants that help companies deliver the perfect online customer experience. Its Intelligent Virtual Assistants combine the intimacy of 1-to-1 service that customers love with the speed and accuracy of automated self-service that scales cost-effectively. Some of the world’s largest organizations rely on Next IT for conversational customer care that boosts satisfaction, loyalty and revenue, including Aetna, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Amtrak and the U.S. Army. Please visit www.NextIT.com for more information and follow us @Next_IT.

Follow Fred Brown on Twitter @TheCowboyCEO.

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