April 19, 2012
The Right Way to Adopt Hosted IVR
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Standard communications within the large enterprise have changed. Where once you could find a live operator to answer your call and direct you to the right location; today the norm is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, directives to check for information on the website and interactions via Web chat. The main driver is cost and scale, especially where hosted IVR is concerned.
According to this IT Director report
, the demands of the customer base have grown beyond the ability of standard points of contact to provide adequate levels of response. Companies also have other challenges, such as opening hours that are too short, a lack of contact center staff to support the influx of calls, and even too few branches to handle the customer requests.
Adding to these challenges is the fact that customers expect to be able to communicate with people at any time. They want these company representatives to know who they are, where they are, what they like, the history of their relationship
with the company and to be able to solve their problem or answer their question instantly. Such demands require the implementation of the hosted IVR.
Even with the right technology in place, however, companies can still find it a challenge to meet this heightened level of customer expectations
, especially when they are trying to maintain or increase their profit margins, shareholder returns and perhaps even the executive bonus or two. If customers can become accustomed to interacting with the hosted IVR – especially if it offers intelligent interactions, the quality experience at a lower cost is possible.
The use of automated systems within the call center offers a new and flexible way
of working that doesn’t have to ignore the needs of the customer. And, when standard requests can be moved offline or to the hosted IVR, the organization can reduce the necessary physical space needed to handle customer care. The quality of the tools is essential, however, if the organization wants to generate a positive response from the customer. If all they hear is no or the wrong response, they will opt for the live agent anyway.
Hosted IVR must be able to intelligently move the client through the process, taking them to the location of the requested information or solving the problem quickly and efficiently. This is possible when the hosted IVR is adopted correctly.
The availability of automated options has made some companies lazy. They lean too hard on these channels to solve customer problems that they may fail to realize when customers are walking away. At the same time, solutions are too often designed to fit the perceived needs of the customer base, instead of the actual needs. The difference between the two can mean success or failure.
To truly gain the promoted value in the hosted IVR platform, organizations need to embrace the capabilities customers are using today and measure satisfaction. When customer expectations are met and care is streamlined, the primary objective has been achieved.
Edited by Juliana Kenny