IVRLast week, I finally bit the bullet and upgraded my home Internet service. What served my family well in the past just wasn’t cutting it any more. I believed it was all due to my kids’ Xbox sucking up most of the bandwidth, but when the customer service agent began asking me questions about our WiFi usage and the number of devices, I was surprised by just how many devices a small family can acquire. As with a lot of families, we have smartphones, iPads, laptops, Kindles, plus the kids’ gaming systems. Even our new TV is a SmartTV and, therefore, connected to our home’s WiFi.

On several of these devices, we easily switch between email accounts, jump around our different social media networks and applications, and spend time communicating on various channels. My family is no different than most, and organizations are responding to this by offering customers a variety of channels to communicate with their customers.

I find that I personally choose to move between channels for different reasons. Sometimes convenience dictates my choice. Other times, my first attempt to find an answer to a question or resolve an issue fails, so I switch to a different channel. The frustrating experience here is that the majority of times when I switch channels, I end up having to start my query from scratch. And this continues to be true if, as a last resort, I call in to speak with a live agent. The person taking my call usually has no idea what recent actions I’ve taken and what information I’ve already provided in other channels.

Contextual information provides all the ingredients for a successful resolution to a customer query, but too few companies capture and pass context across all channels.

Let’s explore an example to see just how much information actually exists about a customer’s journey. A customer logs into your mobile app, and after searching for information decides to reach out to the contact center from that app. At this point, you know who the customer is.  Based on information you already have in the CRM, your agent could understand the context of the call if the information is passed to the agent.

Some would think that CRM data is already enough information to handle the query effectively, but there is actually more data available. For example, the browsing history of the customer on your app is a big clue as to what the customer needs, and what their call is likely to be about.

So what is your next step? Having the right contextual IVR and omnichannel customer journey strategy in place will help address consumers’ growing reliance on multiple devices and channels of communications. At the same time, this ensures your customer’s journey is as seamless, personalized, and efficient as possible.

Think about including the following to ensure the best experience for your customers:

  • Greet the customer with menu options relevant to their current query
  • Forward the caller to the right agent who can best deal with and answer their query
  • Pass all the context of the call, including the browsing history, to the agent who will be handling the customer query to minimize the need for the customer to repeat information
  • Edit the content on the app once the query is handled in a satisfactory way, to ensure that content is updated to include the information that the customer needed in the first place.

Adding context to the conversation is an important part of personalizing the customer experience. Any successful omnichannel customer journey strategy should include personalization to ensure it does not become just another dead-end strategy. Instead, it is seamless experience with one goal: resolving the customer query as quickly and effectively as possible while providing the customer with a highly satisfying experience.

To learn more about implementing a contextual IVR system, download the case study Ovum wrote on eir, the largest telecom operator in the Republic of Ireland, and how they’ve benefited from personalization.


Aaron Wellman

Aaron Wellman is the Product Marketing Offer Lead for Self-Service solutions at Genesys. Aaron came to Genesys with the acquisition of Angel in April, 2013 where he had been with the organization for over 10 years. With a background in...