Call centers today don’t look like they did 20 or even 10 years ago. While they provide the same basic operation – servicing customers – the technology has changed. The amount of media available for customers to use to reach out has doubled or even tripled thanks to such things as the Web, mobile apps and social media, and it will continue to make a huge impact on the customer experience as a whole.
However, one thing hasn’t changed; call centers still provide IVR service at the front end to route customer calls or allow them to perform simple self-service tasks. What has changed is the nature of the IVR. Once a box that sat in an IT room, it was a cumbersome, premise-based solution that required a lot of technical knowledge to interact with.
More and more companies have taken advantage of cloud-based IVR services that offer the same functionality – often more – but are hosted by other companies, easy to change and require little upfront investment. There are many cloud-based IVR solutions available today, both standalone solutions and IVR functionality built into comprehensive call center platforms. In fact, there are so many choices available today that many call centers may have trouble choosing a cloud-based IVR.
IVR solutions provider Plum Voice specializes in IVR technology and only IVR technology, so the company has a big incentive to make it the most efficient, capable alternative to live agents as possible, the company beams in a recent blog. (The blogger likens many call center solutions providers to big box sporting goods stores that offer a little bit of everything, but nothing in much depth).
Conversely, Plum delivers IVR software, systems and expertise that many companies of varying size rely on to simplify their global communications and improve their customers' self-service experience. The Plum IVR Hosting Suite is the company’s hosted and managed service for applications built on its VoiceXML (News - Alert) Platform. Housed within advanced data centers in the US and Europe, the Plum Voice IVR Hosting Suite infrastructure was designed for high reliability. The company also offers telco provisioning, 24x7 operations, port capacity, fault tolerance and disaster recovery (DR).
Each hosting account has a choice of multiple text-to-speech (TTS) and grammar engines (in several languages), phone numbers in more than a dozen countries, inbound or outbound calling and a multitude of pricing plans, allowing companies to choose the configuration they need to build their perfect application from the very start.
By contrast, the IVR functionality that often comes built into many call center platforms does not offer the same level of configurability and flexibility. Many companies wind up stuck with a “one size fits all” IVR solution that meets only a portion of their needs. Needless to say, this makes it difficult for these companies to offer the best possible IVR functionality to their customers, since there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” contact center.
Let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t squeeze your foot into a size six shoe or XS dress if that was the only size available, would you? I thought not.
Find the entire company blog here.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo