Star Performers: Jacada's Visual IVR Eases Customer Pain

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Contact center solutions provider Jacada, in business since 1990, is helmed by Gideon Hollander, founder and co-CEO, and Guy Yair, co-CEO. The company is well known in the industry for contact center solutions that include scripting, agent desktops, and Jacada Advisor, a next-best-action solution for agents.

In August 2012, the company released Jacada Mobile Agent for smartphones and other mobile devices. According to Jacada, the "disruptive" solution capitalizes on the ever-increasing mobile market by marrying it with customer care.

With Jacada Mobile Agent, customers can visually select menu options rather than face the cumbersome process of repeating information to the contact center through prompts and agents. Consumers can also switch from a visual channel to a voice channel and finish an interaction with a live agent, if necessary, without reiterating the particulars. Customers win and contact centers also benefit, as the self-service solution reduces inbound call volume and average handle time, according to Jacada.

Building on the success of Jacada Mobile Agent, in April 2013, the company launched Visual IVR Plus, a solution that also aims to lessen caller frustration and in-bound call time, by offering users a menu-driven interface across mobile and Web channels via the IVR.

Visual IVR Plus uses contact centers' existing IVR scripts, and reads VoiceXML or other scripts, which are integrated with a menu-driven interface. Scripts can be updated and presented immediately on the Web or a mobile device.

According to Jacada, it can take an average of 26.83 seconds for a customer to listen to an IVR menu, but only 6.03 seconds to scan a smartphone screen. The company says that its visual IVR solution cuts customer wait time by 62 percent and agent handle time by 72 percent.

"IVR has played a very important role in the last twenty years, but what we see is what we call zeroing out," said Yair in an interview with Speech Technology magazine's sister Web site, SmartCustomerService.com. "Every day across the globe, hundreds of thousands of people suffer from what I call IVR pain. What's happening on the enterprise side is that they are investing millions of dollars in improving their IVR, but most people are trying to avoid them."

Yair says that another challenge that enterprises face is mapping the customer journey across touch points.

"What we're doing with visual IVR is looking at what customers are doing thirty seconds before they interact with an IVR," Yair says. "There are different types of what we call 'multitouch' points. Customers might come from a contact page or they're navigating a mobile app or they might be coming from a Google search. We provide options to speak to an agent by routing them directly to the right queue."

Jacada has gone on to form several alliances, including a partnership with inContact for Jacada Mobile Agent. Cognizant Technologies teamed up with the company to incorporate Jacada's customer service technology solutions, and Jacada also struck a deal with Priceline.com, which uses its call scripting solution. Additionally, IVR provider Vocantas has incorporated Jacada Visual IVR Plus into its solutions for colleges and utilities.

"Looking ahead, our belief at Jacada is that any interactions with customers are visual. Companies that adopt that approach will differentiate themselves and get some points on [providing a better] customer experience," Yair says.

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