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IVR moves to cloud

The purpose of Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVR) is to take input from the caller and perform an action based on that input. IVR systems are not to be confused with Auto attendant systems that lack the sophistication of IVR systems.

An example of an IVR system people like to use is the one used by some pizza outlets where the callers are providing an option to place the exact same order as the last one by pressing 1. Sure, one can design highly complex IVR systems, allowing you to customize your pizza to the minutest detail (for extra cheese topping, press eight), but that would be plain overkill when all you want is a good pizza to share with your frat friends.

Every IVR should have a prompt to tell the caller the purpose of the IVR and ask for inputs. There should be a system for validating the input provided by the caller and then deciding the course of action once the input has been logically verified. If required there should also be a system for recording caller inputs for later referencing.

From a caller’s perspective, IVR should be simple and uncomplicated with a provision for getting in touch with a live person. For example, callers may get frustrated and may want to speak with a live person. This may happen more times than you care for but the important thing is to handle the situation gracefully and provide an exit option for the person using your IVR system.

Your IVR system should be designed for any type of contingency but it should never try to take the place of an actual human being. People do not like talking to phone systems so avoid the chit chat and get to the point as soon as possible.

Test your systems thoroughly before going live and remember to follow the dos and don’ts given below –

Dos

· Keep it simple
· Articulate slowly and accurately
· Provide exit option

Don’ts

· Don’t try replacing a live person
· Show how clever you are by designing an elaborate system
· Force advertising on unsuspecting callers

Traditionally, IVR systems were premise based and CAPEX heavy. But, due to rapid advancements made in the field of electronics and cloud technologies in the last decade or so the days of premise based IVR systems are finally numbered.

This upheaval has the potential to affect how individuals and businesses interact with each other. Smaller businesses will have communication capability comparable to that of big fortune 500 businesses. 24X7 services, real time business analytic, predictive forecasting, small businesses will finally have all the tools which were limited to big businesses up to now.

According to experts, technology is not going to remain the competitive advantage it was for a better part of the last two decade. This is because new emerging technologies are replacing existing older technologies with affordable technologies almost everyday. Already, cloud alternatives exist for every conceivable business function like ERP, CRM, HRM, Telephony, IVR, Fax, and the list gets bigger everyday.

Cloud IVR is part and parcel of this move to cloud. Businesses are transforming their businesses initiatives to cloud because the cloud provides better cost and operations advantages compared to legacy on premise systems. Since the cost burden is to be borne by the service provider users can now concentrate solely on improving their product and service dispensing with the need for specialized IT staff for running communications paraphernalia for the company. The savings on capital and operating expenditures are massive from the perspective of a small business owner with limited access to funds allowing them to operate with leaner result oriented teams.

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The author of this article is Ambarish Gupta – Founder and CEO of Knowlarity Communications, the pioneers of cloud telephony in India.

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