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It's the New Year. Put Your IVR On a Diet and Strength-Training Regimen
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It's the New Year. Put Your IVR On a Diet and Strength-Training Regimen

January 17, 2011

  By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Your IVR. If you operate a contact center, chances are you have one. Chances are also pretty good that you'd like to think about it as little as possible. You need to think about it, though. If you have an old IVR, or a poorly designed menu tree, chances are, you're damaging your customer relationships even before you customers speak to your agents. IVRs are a sore point with customers, as every customer service survey shows. Customers seldom notice the good ones, but they ALWAYS notice the bad ones. If your current IVR isn't the best it can be, you might as well be telling your customers to take their business elsewhere.

The good news is that IVRs aren't what they used to be. Today's more modern IVR technologies bear a resemblance to those of 20 years ago about as much as today's cell phones look like their 1991 counterparts. Just like many other contact center solutions, today's IVRs are available as hosted solutions that require no investment in hardware, software, upgrades or human resources,

helping contact centers realize an immediate return on their investments. But beyond just the method of delivery, the features available on today's hosted IVR solutions, such as the Inbound IVR solution from Angel, can actually help you operate your contact center to better standards while delighting your customers. For example:

Easy to build. Angel's Inbound IVR solution includes a Site Builder toolkit (it's the only hosted IVR solution to do so) that allows contact center managers or other personnel to easily build, deploy and manage a world-class IVR application quickly and easily, right from the desktop, with no technical expertise required. (Try that with an older solution... but be prepared to call in the team of IT experts you no doubt have to employ to build IVR menus with your old system).

Easy to make changes on the fly. With older IVR solutions, it's doubtful you changed your menu very often. Why would you? It was cumbersome to do so, required a lot of manpower and seldom came out exactly the way you wanted it. What if you had an IVR that you could change daily according to your business needs such as special promotions? With hosted IVR solutions like Angel, you have the control to do so in your hands, allowing you to update or change your application as needed and scale to meet requirements.

No maintenance required. In the old days, when your IVR acted up, it was your problem (pick up the phone and call tech support, then wait for a few days. Or a week). Newer, hosted IVR solutions like Angel's are high-availability and easy to use, while at the same time they are backed by a dedicated team that ensures platform quality round the clock, seven days a week, helping you deliver the highest quality applications with no need for tech support or troubleshooting at your end.

A personalized call experience. Who would have thought, a decade ago, that an IVR solution could actually enhance your customer relationships instead of detracting from them? Modern IVR solutions with next-generation speech technology foster a customer-friendly call experience, increasing customer satisfaction and ensuring issues are resolved more quickly. From intelligent call routing to complete integration with back-end databases or customer relationship management systems, solutions like Angel's enable you to customize each call to the individual caller.

The old mantra goes that “old-fashioned is better.” Anyone who works with technology knows that this is not always true. Anyone who works in a contact center knows that by sticking to old-fashioned technologies such as years-old (or decades-old) phone systems, IVRs, CRM solutions or voice recognition, you may actually be harming your contact center and organization as a whole. Chances are, your competitors are readying themselves to take advantage of new, on-demand contact center technologies (if they haven't already done so).

In a slimmer economy, customer retention is the only thing that matters. If you are still torturing your customers with outdated, inflexible and cumbersome IVR solutions, you might as well be telling them to hang up and get lost.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco
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