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 can help

NICE CXone is the market leading contact center software in use by thousands of businesses 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 a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – leading-edge, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and speeds resolutions of customer issues for better business outcomes. It provides self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.