I was traveling for last few weeks and met some people in various cities in India. I had some interesting discussions with managerial (and above) level people who have been using IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) system for serving their customers better.
I have been asking them about cloud IVR in India why they are not using them in big way. I got many interesting replies and analysis. While people are happy about how outbound IVR has been growing and being used, many had lot of apprehensions about inbound IVR. Well, it has nothing to do with IVR itself, but more to do with how Indian Telecom circles are organised!
Here are few interesting points, I would like to post here:-
1. Toll Free Call rates are still on higher side
Toll free rates are still on higher side and customer awareness about enterprise grade telecom solutions seem very poor. Top management still think the call rates of toll free numbers high because they immediately compare them with outgoing call cost of their mobile phones.
2. Call forwarding to number outside telecom circle is forbidden
This seems to be biggest hurdle in making cloud telephony or hosted IVR popular among IVR users in India. In India, there are 23 telecom circles. One can forward the call from one number to anther within the circle while it is forbidden to forward to a number in another circle.
It simply means that, if your telecom infrastructure ( servers, PRI lines) are in Delhi, a local number in Bengaluroo can not be used to forward to PRI lines in Delhi. So, a client in Bengaluroo can not have a local Bangalore number for their business. There are solutions to this problem, but none is cost effective. With VOIP forbidden in India, the only viable solution is to build telecom infrastructure in Bengaluroo too! Other solutions are either not legal or have high recurring expenses.
So, cloud IVR solution for inbound IVR, without using Toll Free number, seems almost impossible in India if the cloud IVR provider does not have telecom infrastructure in place in all 23 circles in India!
So, most probably, the time has come for all cloud IVR providers in India to share their telecom infrastructure.
3. Confusing Pricing
Many players are offering very competitive prices and there seems to be a lot of confusion about pricing of both inbound and outbound hosted IVR services! Some people have experienced problems with IVR system whenever there is sudden spike in call volumes due to some email campaign or other promotions. Many told me about their apprehensions that cloud IVR providers about pricing strategies!
So, most probably, cloud IVR service providers in India should work together to get around this telecom problem in order to make self-service IVR in cloud more popular in India!