7 Perfect Places For Visual IVR (+3 Where It’s Excessive)

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As more and more companies are building their call center operations around VoIP and IVR technology, many are now adding visual IVR to the mix.

Meanwhile, not everybody knows what visual IVR is yet.

While ordinary IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems enable customers to navigate support menus and complete transactions over the phone, the newer visual IVR systems let customers navigate with text, images, and buttons similar to a standalone app. Some even let you upload photos and documents.

Naturally, these visual interfaces come with all sorts of new capabilities, from ordering the perfect pizza and booking a hotel to making simple purchase returns and getting refunds—all without talking to an agent.

Keep in mind that there are benefits to both sides of this equation. Customers tend to like visual IVR for its speed and self-service empowerment, and businesses tend to like visual IVR because it provides an on-demand service that’s both remote and infinitely scalable—making it much more cost-effective than hiring staff to do similarly repetitive tasks.

While still in its early stages of adoption, this new technology is gaining traction.

7 Perfect Places To Use Visual IVR

Visual IVR shines anywhere where there’s room to do more than navigate customer service via voice. The beauty of this technology is its flexibility, as you can integrate it with your website, chatbot, and mobile app. You can also launch it with SMS or QR codes.

The key is to find situations where visual IVR can:

  • Reduce friction and save time on routine tasks
  • Empower customers with self-service options
  • Simplify complex processes and provide clear information
  • Free up your agents to focus on more challenging issues

Any place you can give your customers a self-service option with a visual menu is an opportunity for visual IVR. Here are seven specific situations where this would be a convenient choice for customer service:

1. Product Returns

The average return rate for online purchases hovers around 20-30%, with some retailers seeing a 50% increase in the last few years. Visual IVR can take the pain out of product returns, replacing it with a smooth, self-service process that benefits both consumers and companies.

Without having to recount order details to an agent, customers can simply click on the purchase they want to return and fill out a form (or upload images) to apply for a return or replacement. The result is faster resolutions, less time spent on back-and-forth calls, and a happier experience for everyone involved.

2. Appointment Scheduling

Gone are the days of playing email tag to match schedules for a quick demo. With just a few clicks, visual IVR-powered calendar apps allow you to choose your time zone, see available appointments, and schedule a convenient time.

Need to reschedule? All it takes is a few quick taps. This reduces no-shows and saves time for you and your staff. Some systems even use visual IVR to send appointment reminders with links, maps, and directions, ensuring everyone arrives on time and prepared.

3. Troubleshooting Guides

Stuck with a tech issue but hate waiting on hold? Visual IVR can help with interactive diagrams, step-by-step instructions, and even video tutorials to guide you through. This can be perfect for software companies that frequently field how-to questions or product-based businesses whose customers need setup instructions.

Once again, customers feel good when they have the autonomy to fix their own problems quickly, and agents are happier when they get to work on less repetitive tasks. Troubleshooting guides are a great way for IVR systems to accomplish both.

4. Order Tracking

Visual IVR takes the guesswork out of deliveries. Customers can track their orders in real-time on a map, see estimated arrival times, and even reschedule deliveries if needed. Some interfaces even let customers request modifications and leave comments directly.

This convenience keeps customers informed and reduces the number of “Where’s my order?” calls for your agents. It also opens up a valuable feedback loop for improving your delivery process—because you can bet that savvy shoppers pay attention to these things in reviews.

5. Account Management

If you’ve ever updated payment information or checked an account balance online, you might have used an IVR menu. In this application, customers see a secure dashboard where they can update information, review transactions, and access account details with just a few clicks.

Sometimes, this technology powers the FAQs and/or other help docs you refer to when troubleshooting, and many of the account verification steps can be managed without calling an agent. And if you’ve ever needed to upload your license as proof of identity while chatting with support, visual IVR made this possible.

7. Agent-Facing Customer Databases

Nextiva VoIP landing page with a button to click to get a quote and a button to click to explore features.

Another way visual IVR helps is by collecting information about your customers and storing it in your CRM or VoIP software.

For example, suppose an agent needed a screenshot. Visual IVR would allow the customer to upload a photo, which could help your agents better understand their problems. This information can be useful for follow-ups down the line, and it can also help lead to key product changes or improvements.

3 Places Visual IVR Might Be Too Much

While visual IVR can be a powerful self-service tool, not every situation deserves its colorful interface. Here are three scenarios where traditional IVR and live agents might still hold the crown.

1. Urgent Situations

Imagine a frantic call about a medical emergency or a security breach. Navigating a visual interface could feel like an eternity in such high-pressure moments where every second counts.

Not only could this cause delays in getting help, but the visual interface could introduce unnecessary complexity and cause problems rather than solve them. Sticking with a streamlined voice IVR or immediate agent connection is the best solution when timing is critical.

2. Tech-Adverse Audiences

For some less tech-savvy generations and individuals with accessibility limitations, navigating a visual interface can be intimidating or even impossible. The menus and other visual elements could add confusion, especially on smaller screens. In such cases, traditional voice IVR with simple prompts might be a more user-friendly option—and even then, speaking with live agents could be necessary to provide personalized support and reassurance.

3. Highly Emotional Interactions

Though self-help chatbots and business coaches are on the rise, it remains to be seen whether or not this technology will truly ever take off. Many people think the faceless, robotic options and lack of human empathy still cause too much frustration, especially in situations when emotions run high.

At the end of the day, visual IVR can be a powerful ally, but it’s not quite a universal solution yet. For each case where you could outsource a robotic task, consider whether a visual interface, voice menu, or actual human could do the job better. Use visual IVR wisely, and watch how it can transform your call center for the better.

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