In today’s competitive business world, companies often pay marketers the big bucks to revamp their website into an engaging, interactive and visually appealing Web experience and to catch the attention of prospects with alluring product placement.
While a colorful advertisement on a train platform or an incentives campaign for the latest gadget can certainly intrigue customers, sometimes all it takes is one negative customer service experience over the phone to have all of that go out the door and send that customer running for the hills (and to a competitor company).
With the advent of the Web and self-service capabilities, the use of the traditional telephone for engaging with customers and assisting with client inquiries is no longer found at the top of contact centers’ priority list. What is present during many of these inbound calls into businesses, however, is the use of an interactive voice response (IVR) system in which customers are assisted and directed by automated technology.
The idea of utilizing IVR technology rather than an actual human to interact with customers has been at the crux of many a debate, as the argument for whether customers can truly receive a personalized, efficient caller experience through an automated machine continues to take the limelight. But, as IVR technology moves to the cloud in order to alleviate staff requirements and more effectively respond to dire tasks, organizations are shifting their way of thinking for how today’s cloud-based voice technologies can still achieve high marks for innovation, simplicity and the ability to anticipate caller needs.
In a recent analysis of the global IVR market, the Global Industry Analysts firm projected the IVR market will reach $2.78 billion by the year 2017. Much of this growth, in the opinion of Don Keane (News - Alert) of IVR company Angel, is due in part to the death of hardware, and the escalation of the cloud.
“Hardware simply doesn't move at the speed of business,” said Keane, vice president of marketing and business development for Angel, in a presentation at last year’s SpeechTek conference in New York City. “Enterprises need to be able to execute proactive and reactive changes in real-time to accommodate ever-changing customer demands, maximize revenue and achieve brand loyalty – and hardware doesn't offer that level of control or agility. Businesses must turn to the cloud to make the most of the voice channel, or risk lost opportunity every time the phone rings.”
And that is exactly what Angel has done. In addition to specializing in cloud-based voice technologies that put the caller first, Angel is also focusing largely on what not to do when it comes to their IVR systems. Angel will host a webinar featuring Blade Kotelly, a human-factors engineering and business innovation strategist, author and educator, which will look closely at a collection of IVRs – the good and the bad – to demonstrate best practices in leveraging cloud technology in order to delight, and entertain, callers.
For more information and to register for the webinar, entitled “The Art of Designing the Customer Experience,” being held Thursday, Jan. 19, 1 p.m. EST/10 p.m. PST, click here.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.
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Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell