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IVR Usage Still Widespread in Telecom and Call Center Industries
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IVR Usage Still Widespread in Telecom and Call Center Industries

October 23, 2009

  By Kelly McGuire, TMCnet Editor

Despite many who say the use of Interactive Voice Response, or “IVR,” is an outdated form of communication in many business or customer relationship management, or “CRM,” companies, new research published by ContactBabel (News - Alert) offers a rebuttal to that argument.  

According to the research, the use of IVR is still widespread in large call centers. In fact, roughly 56 percent of contact centers use IVR to greet customers. 

For IVR systems provider,, a company that continues to provide exceptional systems and resources to its customer base, this comes as good news. 

While the use of IVR or speech recognition for 2009 has declined slightly to 64 percent, of which 56 percent was touchtone IVR and 8 percent was attributed specifically to speech recognition technology, the slight dip is only a few notches away from the IVR peak of 67 percent in 2007. 

Steve Morrell, the author of ContactBabel’s report, said that the use of touchtone IVR has probably peaked since it’s a mature technology, and although it does a competent job in many cases, it is inflexible and unpopular with customers.

The research reports that – of the 56 percent using IVR technology – 86 percent of companies in the telecom and utilities industry use IVR. The lowest use of IVR is in retail and distribution industries. 

“Industries such as telecoms and utilities have been using IVR for many years, especially in cases where a large proportion of calls are repetitive – such as meter readings – or where call volumes are very high and reducing misdirected calls really cuts cost,” Morrell said. “However, for sales-driven industries like retail, many businesses have chosen to deal live with the customer as soon as they can, and in the public sector - a high-growth area of the contact centre industry - the need to improve customer satisfaction is paramount.”’s IVR systems, specifically designed for the CRM industry, customers that use these IVR systems are able to deliver everything from speech-to-text and auto attendant capabilities, to drive personalized and interactive call experiences, rather than giving the customers the run around with traditional IVR systems. 

Titled, “UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers’ Guide (2009 - 7th edition),” the research was conducted through a detailed structured questionnaire was asked to 210 contact center managers and directors between April and July 2009.

Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Editor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire
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