What is Directed Dialog?

In the context of a call center, directed dialog typically refers to how an interactive voice response (IVR) system allows callers to interact. An IVR is the front-end of the phone call that greets the caller and provides them with menu options. When the IVR system uses directed dialog, the caller is presented with a question and prompted to pick from a limited set of possible responses. For example, the IVR might say, "Would you like to know your account balance? Say yes or no." The caller is limited to verbally respond with either yes or no. Depending on the response, the caller might be given another menu option.

Directed dialog is appropriate for situations where there are limited menu options and responses available. It's simple to program because it has a defined set of words that it needs to recognize. However, directed dialog has limitations. For example, if the caller gives a response outside of the list of options, the system could get confused.

Directed dialog is often compared to natural language (NL), which is a more robust form of speech recognition. An IVR that uses natural language can ask more open-ended questions and understand unscripted responses. For example, the IVR might say, "How can we help you today?" And if the caller says, "Yeah, hi, I want to report a lost credit card," the IVR is likely to understand them. Compared to a directed dialog IVR system, natural language IVR is considered more intuitive to use; however, it also requires more programming due to the variety of responses it needs to recognize.

Directed dialog versus natural language - which should a call center choose? That, of course, depends on the business requirements.

How NICE is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

Back to Glossary

Contact us

If you would like to know more about our platform or just have additional questions about our products or services, please submit the contact form. For general questions or customer support please visit our Contact us page.