IVR Is Good News for Scripps: Media Company Leverages Pronexus System to Standardize Subscription Services for 14 Newspapers

By Klie, Leonard | CRM Magazine, May 2011 | Go to article overview

IVR Is Good News for Scripps: Media Company Leverages Pronexus System to Standardize Subscription Services for 14 Newspapers


Klie, Leonard, CRM Magazine


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The E.W. Scripps Co. operates 14 newspapers and a syndication service that delivers the comics "Dilbert" and "Marmaduke," columns from nationally syndicated writers like Miss Manners and Cokie Roberts, and puzzles and games to more than 400 publishers around the country.

The central Florida-based media company must manage a readership base of 630,000 weekday and 790,000 Sunday subscribers in cities throughout California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Newspapers account for about 56 percent of total revenue at Scripps, which also owns and operates 10 local network-affiliated television stations in Oklahoma, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Maryland, Kansas, Florida, and Arizona.

With customers scattered all over the country, Scripps has begun standardizing all of its newspaper subscription services on a single interactive voice response (IVR) system built using the VBVoice toolkit from Pronexus, which is based in Ottawa, Canada.

Scripps first installed VBVoice at its Treasure Coast newspaper group in central Florida in 2002. After a systems integrator built the subscription system based on VBVoice, Ed Lindoo, senior director of IT infrastructure at Scripps since 2001, took over the maintenance and further development of it. "Within a matter of about three or four weeks, we had a fully functioning IVR working for us," Lindoo says. "From there, we've just kept building on it."

Recently, other Scripps newspapers have started to adopt Lindoo's IVR, attracted by its affordability and effectiveness. The publications are also replacing separate circulation database systems at each location with one centralized system. Both the central IVR and the central circulation system will be cloud-based once they have been completed.

The entire standardization project will likely take about 18 months. "If I was just doing a single-site IVR upgrade, I could have it done in a week or two, but what we're doing is pretty complicated," Lindoo says, noting the project involves multiple sites, back-office circulation systems, and credit card processing. "It's a pretty big undertaking because we're going to have 14 newspapers running on that one system."

Once completed, the Scripps IVR is expected to field about 10,000 calls a day for all 14 of the Scripps newspapers. …

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