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What is Visual IVR (or VIVR)?

November 26, 2017

Common questions we hear from our prospective clients – and our thoughts about them.

There are numerous and compelling reasons to implement a Visual IVR (VIVR) solution. There are many reasons – some quite valid – that service organizations choose not to implement VIVR. Below, I‘ve collected a number of frequently asked questions and how we address them.


Q. We already have IVR, why do we need Visual IVR?

A. IVR plays a crucial role in the service continuum. What it does not do, however, is encourage customers to choose digital self-service.

VIVR is implemented on top of your existing IVR system, and leverages the existing service scripts and backend integrations you worked so hard to develop. VIVR does not replace IVR. IVR is still required to make the initial connection for incoming phone calls, to drive the call flow of the hybrid voice-and-digital service, and will continue to serve customers calling landlines and for customers who are “tech-reluctant”.

What VIVR does do is simply provide better interface and better success rates than IVR. Companies who use VIVR report higher scores in service KPIs including: higher number of transactions, higher task completion rates (TCR), fewer calls flowing to agents, fewer hang-ups in mid-process and even higher customer satisfaction rates.

Typical success numbers reported by CallVU customers include:

• Information processes – IVR 40% vs. VIVR 75%
• Service transactions – IVR 20%-30% vs. VIVR 45% – 70%
• Sales transactions – IVR 3%-7% VIVR vs. 30%-40%

Q. Do we need to create (or recreate) a dedicated app?

A. Many companies have invested heavily to put their digital strategy into action. Developing great apps and attractive websites that empower users with self-service options is expensive and time consuming. No one wants to repeat the process with yet another channel. And no one want to invest in ongoing management, maintenance and data updates every time a new service, pricing model or policy is being introduced.

That’s why, when designed and implemented correctly, VIVR is not a separate communication channel. In fact, VIVR re-uses existing data from apps and websites to make them accessible during a service phone call. Any update of existing channels is automatically reflected in the VIVR platform – saving time and ensuring cross-channel consistency.

Far from being a cost center, VIVR actually drives adoption of services in which companies have already invested. Keep in mind that mobile apps – far from providing full service coverage – are in use by only some 30% of customers, on average. In retail banking, where digital adoption is highest, that number is only 40%. VIVR exposes the app to users via the voice call channel – driving both usage and adoption.


Q. We provide self-service via our website, isn’t it enough?

A. Right, but…most customer-facing communication channels (web, email, live chat, virtual agents, support forums, service center) are siloed. What happens in one is often not reflected in the others. Thus, customers are frustrated when they have to repeat their stories multiple times.

The strength of well-designed VIVR (like CallVU’s) is in its ability to repurpose digital assets. For example, the statement page shown to a customer via the visual IVR, is extracted from the website, app or even the CRM. VIVR handles a single sign-on the background – so there’s no need to maintain a separate database for the service. Some of our best implementations are using heavily the existing customer web site.

Moreover, any great technology is only as effective as it usage. VIVR is designed to draw customers into digital self-service – to maximize the value and ROI of the very tools you’ve already invested in.

Finally, it’s a fact that customers engage with service providers via multiple channels. Investing in just one channel means that many customers will not be exposed to the service.

Q. Will customers activate the Visual IVR session?

A. Yes, experience shows that they will. CallVU VIVR is activated in two ways:

  1. If the user has pre-installed the service provider’s app (i.e. banking, insurance, etc.), the VIVR menu screen pops up automatically when a service phone call is dialed. This is made possible via an SDK embedded within the service provider’s app. Thus, the user doesn’t need to install any additional software on her or his device. How does this work exactly? Once a call is made, the caller begins to interact with the traditional IVR. However, when the user lowers his or her device to press a number selection as part of the IVR process, the VIVR menu appears on the screen in addition to the number pad. Experience has shown that the overwhelming majority of users intuitively engage with the VIVR.
  1. If the user does not have an app installed, VIVR is activated by sending the user a text (SMS) message with a link to the VIVR menu. The voice menu prompts the user to look at the screen and follow the link to the visual service. This app-free scenario ensures that all users, not just those who installed the app, will benefit from a better experience and simplified journey.

By offering the option of digital self-service – even to non-technical users – adoption rates and awareness rise in our experience.


Q. Don’t people call the contact center because they want to speak with an agent?

A. Not necessarily. Many customers call the contact center simply because that’s what they’re used to. Many would prefer a self-service option if they understood that it saves them time and hassle.

Thus, when implementing VIVR, it’s important to develop a “hybrid” model to allow callers use self-service if they prefer, yet still allow them to be directed to an agent at any given point during the process. With CallVU VIVR, even when a call is transferred to an agent, the entire service call log is visible to the agent – including all processes and actions taken by the user during session, both successful and unsuccessful. This lets the agent pick up from the exact spot where the self-service left off, ensuring a seamless and coherent customer experience throughout the journey. And when the agent hangs up the call, customers can continue the self-service session on their own.

Q. What about customer privacy and data security?

A. The importance of data privacy and security cannot be underestimated. That’s why CallVU’s Visual IVR platform integrates with any security solutions currently in use in your organization. Processing millions of calls a month, our platform allows users to authenticate using a wide range of tools, from simple username and password to advanced biometrics (voice, fingerprint, face recognition) and a combination of parameters (two-factor authentication).


If you have any additional questions you would like us to address, please feel free to email them to: [email protected]

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