IVR vs. Conversational AI support

This is an ongoing debate for many. Would the interactive voice response (IVR) be best for communication between the customer and brand?

Or is the Conversational AI support the most effective solution? Differentiating these two will help business owners choose the best method for customer service experience.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Support

This kind of support system enables the interaction of customers with a company-assigned computer that uses Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) and voice tones that are instilled via keypad. This support program uses a telephone keypad or speech recognition to respond to customers’ queries or direct them to the required department that would solve their issues. Some IVR systems even allow customers to choose self-serve.

This method of communication is very common in many businesses. Consider Comcast Xfinity, which is one of the largest communication agencies in the US. If any Xfinity internet subscriber faced an issue with their services, they will call the Xfinity customer service, and through the company’s IVR technology, the customer will be directed to the concerned department. This method of communication between the customer and the brand is the most used.

Other pros that come with using IVR also go to show why this method might be good for your brand’s customer service.

No Breaks Needed. Unlike the human customer support agents, a machine doesn’t need breaks. That allows these machines to function and assist customers during non-business hours. IVR can run 24/7 throughout the year, even during holidays.

Affordable. Since newer technologies are being developed everyday and replacing IVR, the covering cost of IVR has dropped significantly, making it a cheaper and affordable option for home-based businesses and smaller companies.

Reliable.  Users are aware of the extent to which IVR support can be made use of, which is why they do not have any unrealistically high expectations. This familiarity makes it a reliable option.

More Accessible. People who cannot read or are deprived of an internet connection will find IVR to be the best option for them since it functions on a mobile network connection.

Conversational AI Support

This refers to an intelligent platform that brands apply on their websites, and through that customers can reach out to a messaging representative of the company. Customers can use self-service through this platform since the computational program behind the screen is trained to answer basic and repetitive queries for them.

You can enjoy the following advantages with conversational AI support;           

Cost-Effective. Companies opt for conversational chatbots because they don’t have to offer training regularly and can work overtime. This helps to reduce costs in the long run.

Advanced Services. Conversations with chatbots can provide better results in customer retention and customer engagement. Unlike human customer support agents, chatbots are less prone to error, hence they provide a consistent customer experience.

Chatbots can also be programmed to have conversations in multiple languages of the customer’s preference, and this multilingualism can increase the customer base.

Natural Language. Conversations with AI bots can feel human-like when the language of interaction is of the customer’s preference. AI is also programmed to understand the customer’s intent, emotions, and sentiments, making the experience more personal and human-like.

Data Collection. AI can also provide information about the customer’s preferences in products and services, their behavior, concerns, etc. to be used for market research.

Final Verdict

How both these technologies are perceived just goes to show which one is the most preferred. Conversational AI is considered better than IVR in terms of accessibility and affordability, whereas IVR is thought to be an old-fashioned platform.

  • IVR can work offline, which means that this is a good customer support option for businesses in areas where the network isn’t very strong or the internet isn’t easily available. On the other hand, conversational AI needs an internet connection to function.
  • IVR can get slow and irritating. Most of the time, customers’ call goes unanswered, whereas conversational AI has more success in engaging customers successfully.
  • IVR is more exclusively used to connect the customers to the right person or department, whereas conversational AI is the solution that supports customers, bundled into the brand’s help page, live chat, and IVR in one.

At the end of the day, businesses need to go for the option that will effectively help their customers’ queries. Understanding their preference and providing improved customer support will help them move towards providing a better customer experience.