Interact's Cloud Communications and IVR Systems Help Power Customer Service for Utilities
May 30, 2012
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
Cloud communications services and IVR--Interactive Voice Response--systems alike have received a lot of press of late in terms of what they're doing for sales calling and customer contact solutions, and as many utility companies are discovering, this level of automation, as generated by products like those offered by Interact, is opening up new opportunities for utilities to provide that same level of customer service and improve their operations--and bottom line--accordingly.
Implementation of an IVR system for utilities is a highly flexible process. The necessary equipment for many IVR systems, like Interact's, can be installed in-house, allowing utilities to buy their own equipment, install it in their own data center, and control precisely just how the IVR system responds. For those utilities that don't want an in-house system, cloud-based systems are also available, in which a utility can, in essence, subcontract out the work, having a cloud provider design a solution that follows industry best practices, with special attention paid to those specific points the utility wants covered.
This allows the utility to have the IVR system, but without the need to build and maintain it, as well as purchase and update the equipment. It does, however, introduce a new regular charge to the utility on a pay-as-you-go basis. In either case, however, the utility gets the added advantage of being able to focus on its primary business instead of diverting extra resources to customer care.
Large parts of utilities are taken up with customer contact, either incoming or outgoing, and this is where IVR technology and cloud-based communications systems like Interact's can step into the fray, helping utilities not only save money by allowing basic service requests like bill payment or status reports to be automated, but also improve customer service by better routing incoming customers to those most likely to be able to help resolve their particular issues. Having a good customer service program in place can improve relations and keep customers less likely to seek out alternatives to a utility's services.
IVR systems, whether on-premises or cloud-based, are rapidly proving themselves to be valuable, useful additions to many companies' customer service systems. Improving customer relations is smart for most any company, and utilities are no exception. So with a variety of options available like those offered by Interact, it's safe to say that customer service should be a greater opportunity for companies than ever thanks to the relative simplicity of improving the contacts.
Edited by Juliana Kenny