Video: How to Circumvent the Limitations of Traditional Conversational IVR

Learn more about conversational IVR at the next SpeechTEK conference.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Nico Acosta: If you take the customer service conversational IVR--the traditional kind of DTMF touchtone IVR--it looks something like this.

Say you press 1 for "Reservations," press 2 for "Flight Status," etc. But then the problem is you only have 10 digits, right? So, inevitably, you end up with this really nested tree of options that is a really bad customer experience.

A conversational IVR looks something like this.

"Hey, how can I help you today?"

"Can you please send me my flight details to my email?"

"Of course."

"Is nico@twilio.com the best email?"


Much more efficient. It is a conversational interface that users don't need to know how to use. That's why it's so powerful. On average, with a consumer-facing company, there are around 150-200 reasons why customers contact them. That does not fit in a 0-9 IVR. Or exception handling. When you send a text message confirming an order, and then the user texts back, saying "Oh no, I need to change the address for that flower delivery," Normally those messages get ignored.

But with Autopilot, you can build an address or an order modification flow, that takes care of that. It says, "No worries, what's the new address? 121 Speer Street San Francisco. Great." And you did that in a completely seamless, and completely self-service way. Or what the city of Lake Forest is doing in Southern California, offering frequently asked questions to citizens. So if you ask, "Hey Alexa, in the city of Lake Forest, at what time does city hall close?" It responds, "City hall closes at 5 pm." It's a great way for the government also to engage with the citizens.

This one's one of my favorites: lead qualification, and appointment scheduling. Where you can ask questions up front.

Say, "How many employees does your company have?"

"More than 1,000."


"When is a good time to schedule a call with an expert?"

And you can go through qualify, and then schedule a call with one of your SDRs or BDRs. Imagine the sales efficiency that you gain there. And it's still a great customer experience.

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