One of the keys for creating great customer journeys and to being the disruptor–versus being disrupted–requires companies to act in the moment and connect those moments. If you poll consumers virtually all will raise their hands when asked “do you want self service?” But almost no one will raise their hands if you ask “how many love your IVR?” Consumers today want self-service that is frictionless, easy and via the channels they prefer.

The next wave of self-service looks far different than yesterday’s IVR. These new self-service options include channel choice, bots, A.I. assistants (like Kate from Genesys), and smart microapps embedded in websites or mobile sites for routine tasks. And yes, this next wave of self-service involves IVRs, but IVRs like you have never seen before: Personalized and predictive IVRs that know what you were doing when you call in. Visual IVRs that may offer the option to easily select buttons on a smart phone to schedule an appointment, for instance, rather than wading through a clunkly lengthy verbal menu. IVRs you may actually learn to love.

With 90% of customer interactions now starting digitally on the web or mobile devices, it’s imperative that companies embrace these new ways to integrate other messaging channels into their web or mobile experiences to create frictionless efficient customer journeys. The paybacks in increased CES, NPS, CSAT and lower costs are huge. Self-service of yesterday was impersonal and high-effort, but tomorrow’s self-service looks nothing like this! Low effort self-service that allows customers to communicate the way they want and allows your business to communicate according to your business strategy to serve customers.  Let’s take a deeper look.

New Omnichannel Messaging Channels for a Digital and Mobile World  

So what is the new wave of digital customer service options that are breaking through the high-effort, impersonal self-service of yesterday? Digital messaging channels—text, video, webchat, chatbots, call-back, and voice—can now be incorporated into websites and mobile devices. A self-service window (example below) can be offered to customers on a website or mobile device when they request assistance. The customer can see the time for a call may be long but that options such as webchat, email, text are available now. These messaging channels could also be your own bot, a Facebook messenger bot, or an IBM Watson bot assistant. Offer these options to customers based on your business rules. For example, make chat or video chat available to your high-value customers but offer only email to other segments.

The drivers are clear: Digital self-service is much easier, more consumer-friendly, and it saves a lot of time.

Smart Microapps Reduce Effort and Cost

New digital channels reduce customer effort and serve customers the way they want, and the way your business rules dictate. Microapps are another digital service option that can lower effort and dramatically reduce costs. Lets look deeper at this. If you were to look at a journey map for your company, you may see that 70% of all interactions include routine inquiries to check a balance or pay a bill, or example. These routine tasks are ideal candidates to automate via smart microamps, eliminating the need for other expensive service resources. Combine microapps with the digital channel approach shown below:

And finally, at the beginning of this blog, I trashed IVRs. But the next wave of IVRs look nothing like the IVRs many have grown to hate. One new option is an omnichannel personalized IVR, which allows context to be carried across channels. Rather than asking you what language you speak, this IVR personally greets you and understands where you are in a previously started purchase journey:  “Jim, I noticed you were last on our website comparing TVs. Would you like to be routed to a TV specialist who can help you? We can have the model you want ready for you when you come to the store” (via an IOT Bluetooth beacon). An IVR can  be effortless and personal and even transcend channels from digital to physical. Not exactly your father’s IVR, is it?

In addition to personalized IVRs, consider visual IVRs, another way that IVRs are becoming more intuitive as a self-service option for mobile. Imagine when you call in, the IVR notices you are on a smartphone. It asks if you would like visual assistance. If so, it sends you a text with a link. This opens up your phone browser with simple buttons to make your selection. Making an appointment takes a few simple taps. The benefits are obvious over listening to a long, drawn out IVR menu.  Fast, easy and nothing like yesterday’s evil IVR.  See a great example for a utility company:

virtual assistant

Effortless, Easy and the ROI Is Significant

We talked about pushing digital channels to customers based on their preference, based on how you want to do business.  We’ve talked about smart microapps that make it easy for customers to handle routine tasks and save you money. And we’ve talked about personal and visual IVRs that are easy. But what about the potential return on investment?

Genesys commissioned a Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper, The Case for Omnichannel Self-Service. It found that organizations embracing omnichannel self-service stood apart. They were more likely to report that self-service capabilities have either a high or crucial impact on increasing customer satisfaction scores (87%); decreasing service response times (80%); decreasing the number of customer callbacks (75%); and, decreasing call waiting times (69%).

The recommendations here embrace these new forms of service, not only for a great customer experience. They also will reduce your costs significantly.

Today, it’s a lot easier to give your customers faster and more efficient ways to self-serve. I’ve provided three areas where you can embrace the new digital channels to reduce friction and cut costs. So set goals for next-generation digital self-service—low effort, better NPS, seamless customer journeys—as part of your omnichannel strategy.

Would like to learn more about how you can go digital? Executive Brief, Personalized IVR for Improved Customer Experience: How to Break Through Roadblocks to Great Self-Service IVR or reach out to a Genesys Journey Manager to arrange a demo. Our experts can help you get ready to ride this next wave of customer experience.

Ted Hunting

Ted Hunting

Ted Hunting leads North America Marketing for Genesys with over 10 years experience in the customer experience industry. Ted has led marketing for innovative startups that led to successful IPOs as well as large enterprise software companies. In addition to...