Magazine article CRM Magazine

It's Time to Start Thinking about IVR Differently

Magazine article CRM Magazine

It's Time to Start Thinking about IVR Differently

Article excerpt

For a long time now, IVR systems have earned a bad rap. IVR is one of the few technologies that has not kept pace in the contact center, and now, people have an outdated understanding of true IVR capabilities. Voice self-service can be great if and when it is done correctly.

It's time to start thinking about IVR differently.


Every technology vendor comes to the table with cost savings and a better customer experience as differentiators.

But what else can a vendor bring? What more does an enhanced solution offer?

For example, in addition to cost savings and customer experience, a solution might bring increased operational efficiency because you can identify process flaws more easily. But because IVR touches the customer directly, any problem that a business faces--inside or outside the contact center--can be affected by an enhanced IVR solution.

For example, let's say one of the key touchpoints for your business is direct mailings to your database. It's not realistic to expect customers to always update address information on their own, but it's vital to your business that addresses are up-to-date--your sales funnel depends on it. That doesn't seem to have much to do with an IVR, right? Wrong. An advanced solution should have the capability to handle outbound address update calls and automatically make the changes in your company's CRM database. This simple and proactive solution helps you keep the sales funnel full and, ultimately, maintain revenue goals. But you can't perform these calls with any old IVR; it takes a highly specialized application with excellent speech recognition capabilities to handle these higher complexity tasks.


Customers choose the channel they choose based on which one they think will require the least amount of effort, and, as industry analyst Nancy Jamison says, "You're only as good as your weakest channel." For many companies, IVR has devolved into their weakest channel because it has largely gone ignored over the past ten or fifteen years. But these outdated IVR systems generally put customers through high effort experiences, whether in the inability to perform tasks or even trapping them in "IVR jail." Customer effort has the most impact on loyalty of any measurement, so the longer you keep the IVR that everyone hates, the more you risk losing the loyalty of your customers.

Then again, forget customer effort for a second--replacing your IVR sounds like a huge amount of effort from you and your IT staff. Frankly, that isn't always the case. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.