While working principle of IVR is same, different vendors use different architecture, platform, hardware etc. to implement an IVR System. There are many competing IVR vendors which have similar quality, products, services. It could be difficult to compare them and decide a vendor of your IVR software requirement.
Here I am trying to list few parameters based on which one might be able to choose an IVR System faster :-
1. Platform : Operating System and IVR Development Tool
This is important parameter for choosing an IVR System. I will not recommend choosing an IVR System based on MAC OS, simply because one may not easily find manpower for that. IVR could be developed using native CTI Board APIs or using third party RAD Tools for IVR . I would recommend use of native API and it tends to be more cost effective.
2. Hardware Support
Hardware support is a must for an IVR System. While it is recommended that one must keep an IVR System on hot stand-bye, but availability of CTI Board support is a must. Support from Dialogic is legendary and when budget is no constraint for stable system, any Dialogic based IVR System would perform much better.
3. Call Flow Designer
IVR System may have custom built call flow and some vendor may provide graphical tools to design IVR Call flow for changing it in future on the fly. While it is desirable to have toolkit to change call flow, one should not keep changing call flow and should not attempt to do it without supervision from IVR experts.
IVR System needs to keep huge records of calls, activities as well as many other information like its own health. So, while enterprise database system might be recommended, but one should also do trade-off with cost.
5. Inbuilt Online/Web-based Reporting
Online reporting system for an IVR System is very important to review IVR activities. One should avoid any IVR System which has poor reporting system as it will not help any future IVR analytic. Its desirable that it has web-based reporting system so that any people could see reports from different locations.
6. Telecom Protocols used
IVR System should not use outdated, legacy protocols to connect to PSTN. Also it should be capable of upgrade to future telecom protocol without having to re-write whole IVR Software. Donjin Keygoe Series is such hardware which claims to be future proof, as it can support PRI, SS7, VOIP etc.
Scalability is desirable, specially for call center IVR systems where number of calls may go up over time. Modular design helps IVR system scale-up without having to downtime of existing IVR system.
8. Integration with existing/Third party Software System
When new IVR System is being planned, an organisaton may be using many other software system. New IVR System should be capable of integrating with these existing software. It is must have feature in any IVR system.
Support is very important.
IVR System should have customisation facility, either inhouse or from the vendor. It is desirable parameter specially for those IVR which needs to be changed frequently.
I hope these parameters should be helpful to compare IVR systems. If I missed out any parameter, please leave a comment.