Recently, there has been news about growth of outbound IVR systems everywhere in the world. I have also experienced people preferring outbound IVR over inbound IVR. Outbound IVR systems are being preferred in those kind of application where some customer authentication or verification like credit card authorisaton, phone banking, voice alerts are required or in IVR applications like appeal for voting in election campaign apart from traditional usage of outbound IVR as predictive auto dialer in call center or contact center.
Difference between Inbound IVR and Outbound IVR systems
Technically speaking, there is not difference between inbound IVR systems and outbound IVR systems. Though in outbound system, few extra tasks by IVR software needs to perform like Call Progress Analysis (CPA). Apart form that, there is minor difference in call flow only. There is no hardware difference.
But there is a huge difference between inbound IVRS and outbound IVRS commercially. The major difference is, apart from IVR systems on toll free numbers, caller has to pay for calling to IVR number for per minute of usage as per tariff plan subscribed by the caller from a Telecom operator. But in outbound IVR, the called party or the user of the IVR system is not charged!
In inbound IVR, user dial in to the IVR number while in outbound IVR, the IVR calls out to the user. Once call is connected, the IVR operation remains the same.
In real world, outbound IVR faces many problems like detecting reason for connection of the call. Because call may be connected due to called party picking up the phone, called party transferring the call to its voice mailbox, answering machine etc. While these may cause problems, but with CTI boards offering advanced features for call progress analysis, outbound IVR software can detect these different types of connections though not with 100% accuracy all the time.
Why Outbound IVR is growing ?
1. IVR being increasing used as utility services
Outbound IVR is majorly growing as IVR is becoming increasingly a public utility service. If any public utility services to be successful, it should always be offered “free” to the actual users! Recently, people are increasingly using IVR for various public utility services like flight status alert, news alerts, remainder services etc.
2. Security reasons
In a any verification, it is always more secure if the call is originated from the verification agencies. I hope some fraud can be eliminated if the call is originated from verification agency. Verification calls or credit card authentication calls can be scheduled after some time consuming manual or automated checks about the credentials before asking an user for authentication.
3. Growth of Service Industry
Service industry has been growing anywhere in the world and more in India. It has increased in many call centers, tele-marketers which has increased requirement of outbound IVR systems. Many call centers use outbound IVR as predictive dialer, automated payment remainders, payment acknowledgment.
4. Innovation in IVR Systems
With advent of Hosted IVR solutions, the cost and implementation time of IVR systems has gone down and many smaller companies have started availing IVR services for various purpose. With falling telephone charge per minute, it has become more affordable by many smaller companies for whom outbound IVR was not affordable earlier.
I think, in days to come, outbound IVR will continue to grow.