Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Picking an IVR Provider: Key Factors and Tips

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Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems offer an array of services for the modern business. Typically they are used either to engage a caller through voice-recognizing customer service systems that can manage a large volume of calls, or in computer interfaces that allow employees to control their computers with voice commands while keeping their hands free.

When looking for an IVR provider, keep these points in mind to secure the latest technology and the most adaptable technology for your business:

Step One: Find Out Your Hardware Requirements

What type of hardware do you need for your IVR system? While some IVR systems do not require any particular accessories, others that interact with an application through voice commands may need a specific type of microphone or headset.

Analogue phones do not always operate with some types of IVR compatible systems. Meaning if you install an IP phone solution with an IVR server, you could very well have to purchase new phones. Knowing if your current phone system is updated enough to handle an IVR addition could be the difference of thousands of dollars in installation costs.

Step Two: Consider How Much You Will Use an IVR

How long will you be using an IVR during the normal business day? If it's just for the short term or when closing the business for travel or renovation you can get by with only fundamental interactive services, enough automation to control basic functions or collect contact information.

Long-term, permanent IVR systems should offer much more, from full integration with all business software to advanced customer service options such as up-selling and marketing campaign response.

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Step Three: Software Compatibility

If you are looking to add just an IVR solution alone, be cognizant that there could be some conflicts with your current solution. Ask the dealer if their IVR system be customized to fit proprietary business solutions.

Another thing to consider is if the IVR you are looking to buy can collect and output data to your current software solution. An IVR system will not save much time unless it can sync with the software you already use and update or control it automatically. To deliver these solutions, your IVR provider should have custom protocols that allow for detailed control of nearly any type of software.

Step Four: Evaluate Quality

Your new IVR system should not be stuck with outmoded, basic voice recognition. Instead, it should embrace flexibility and modern IVR solutions. For example, the latest versions of IVR equipment gauge user response times and change the speed of automatic responses to match. Others include instant customer feedback options, such as phone-based survey.

While quality in most things is defined by function and longevity, with IVRs quality is defined by function and service level agreements. In the case of difficulties, you should have a customer service contact number you can call for live assistance. The more services a company offers; forums, FAQs, and guides on managing your system the easier troubleshooting will prove. Conduct this research during the early shopping stage by reviewing provider websites carefully.

As always, be sure to comparative shop. An end-to-end IVR system (including all of the services an IVR is capable of) four 24 extensions can cost between $15,000 and $91,000 dollars depending on where you purchase it and the brand. While there are smaller systems available in the four figure range for smaller businesses, one must be thinking about expansion and understand moving beyond your current size means adding on more equipment, or perhaps even buying a new IVR altogether.

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