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Omni-channel IVR: The Missed Opportunity

Omni-channel IVR: The Missed Opportunity

Consumer facing businesses are increasingly embracing integrated multi-channel customer contact solutions. In retail, this is often referred to as ‘omni channel’ – it doesn’t matter whether you start shopping on your smartphone, pick up on your laptop and finish on your iPad – the experience is seamless.

Traditionally, online businesses like Amazon are the farthest ahead on this path, but former bricks and mortar and catalogue retailers are getting in on the action too (think Burberry or the Shop Direct Group, which owns brands like Littlewoods, Woolworths and Very). One thing I’ve noticed though, is that these ‘omni channel’ initiatives are often driven by the web teams, and the voice channel gets ignored. I think this is a big missed opportunity. Sometimes a customer needs to call, and it’s often when something goes wrong, like there’s a delayed delivery, they need to make a return or they’re having a problem making a payment. Done right, the seamless customer journey of an omni channel solution can turn these potentially damaging customer experiences into delightful ones. But that won’t be the case if the transition from omni channel simplicity to IVR or agent results in a bland – “How can I help you?”.

By looking at the number a customer is calling from or even better, by offering an automated call-back option on the website or mobile app, it’s quite possible to greet the caller with a pro-active, personalised, potentially automated message like: “I’m sorry your online payment did not go through Mr Robinson – is that what you’re calling about?”. That’s the kind of thing that really makes customers smile.

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