October 24, 2012
New Courses for Customer Interaction Doesn't Mean IVR is Gone Yet
By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor
Shankaran Nair, president, Corporate Strategy, Servion couldn’t have put it any better when saying that “customers today are spoilt for choice,” because it’s absolutely true. Think about it – now days, it’s a definitive expectation of ours to be able to interact with a company for customer service via a buffet of platforms – from social media sites to mobile apps. While new and modern alternatives constantly hit the scene, good old interactive voice response (IVR) systems still remain a top contender for the resolution of customer complaints and inquiries.
“In spite of all the technology that has evolved voice is still a major chunk of the interaction. Secondly, any customer interaction is a potential success or a failure point for any brand…there are very few brands that are in the market that offer different products or that have carved a niche for themselves who would not require the service area to differentiate themselves. If the customer's needs are not met at the IVR, a company can end up losing that customer,” Nair recently told Pupul Dutta in Express Computer.
Apparently, two things in particular that may challenge legacy IVR include cloud-based IVR and mobile applications. Cloud-based IVR is expected to drive down costs while increasing the speed of deployment, Nair notes. This can essentially eliminate all of those times you’ve been required to punch in a long set of numbers, codes or identification factors – and rightfully so. We all know we’ve been at the point where we’d rather just hang up than endure a drawn-out cycle of re-typing our credit card or order number. By keeping “your IVRs crisp and short,” you can find an optimum way to handle frequent customer frustrations, Nair says.
Let’s not also forget the fact that IVR is gong mobile, with new apps being developed nearly overnight to connect companies’ IVR systems. “The need to improve the effectiveness of IVR systems and minimize customer frustration through improved information delivery is a never-ending pursuit,” he explained, which is exactly where mobile applications come into play.
Nair also predicts that the IVR industry will soon dive into high-definition (HD) territory, as HD voice is becoming a huge and widely adopted phenomenon. HD voice is said to increase clarify and improve the “interaction” aspect of IVR systems.
“VoIP has definitely gone mainstream now,” says Paul Stockford, an analyst at Saddletree Research, who also estimates that over 60 percent of contact centers currently integrate VoIP technology and that 13 percent are still “evaluating” it. “With VoIP, you can do HD voice fairly easy.”
Only time will tell how traditional IVR will fare amidst these new developments and technological integrations.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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