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IVR Opens the Door for CEM Solutions
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IVR Opens the Door for CEM Solutions

May 01, 2012

  By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

It’s a new year and vendors across the country, even the globe, are looking at repositioning their focus from the traditional CRM (customer relationship management) solution to that of an “experience” on the customer level. In doing so, companies may take advantage of more IVR (interactive voice response) solutions to interact more with customers.

However, there is no clear approach outlined to define how vendors can start to achieve the customer experience management with IVR, according to this My Customer report. Some industry experts consider the process a stumbling block to success.

From the most basic standpoint, CEM has received plenty of attention from naysayers accusing vendors of merely focusing on re-branding CRM. If, in fact, CRM is being inappropriately tagged as CEM, both businesses and end users will see it fail miserably.

The two are not interchangeable and continuing with operational functions from one to the other won’t solve any problems or advance the IVR solution. The changes must be something of substance and not built on ideas alone.

Colin Shaw, chief executive officer and founder of Beyond Philosophy, says that CRM instills a data deluge of private, statistical data regarding its customers. If the CEM solution is understood and properly managed, it can offer quality over quantity when it comes to consumer metrics. In order for the IVR product to be an effective CEM, the customer must be the focus or the organization.

Shaw saws this entire theory can be a pitfall that will limit success if senior leaders are only re-branding instead of putting work into IVR solutions for CEM programs. Other analysts believe that the entire shift from CRM to CEM is very similar to the original CRM in the 1990s. Back then the solution was called technology enabled relationship management.

During those days, TERM, was the centerpiece for disparate applications like IT help desk applications and salesforce automation for customer service solutions. In the beginning, CRM, too, was braced for skepticism. Vendors and industry leaders assumed that it was a switch in focus for salesforce to be more flashy and larger than it really was.But we all know how that initial concept turned out. It was a gold mine and has carried vendors and end users into the 21st century. Why? Because it had substance behind it much like the IVR being used for CEM solutions. Today, the relationship has moved to become management and has created a $14 billion market from pre-IVR concepts. So, is CEM a frivolous branding of an already existing concept or is it the real deal?

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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