Like most technology, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has evolved over the years. From automatic switchboards to completing self-service tasks like activating a credit card or paying a bank bill—IVR has modernized companies with Intelligent Virtual Agents. If you want to stay competitive in today’s market, you might want to think about further automating your IVR processes.
IVR outsourcing is an excellent way to do this! But with so many vendors out there, how do you know which one to choose? The correct choice is the one that meets the specific needs and requirements of your business. There are many things to consider. Keep reading to find out precisely what you should look for in a vendor to get the very best IVR outsourcing.
What is IVR?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is automated phone technology that allows callers to interact with a computer without live agent intervention. IVR technology can integrate with systems, such as databases and CRMs, which will enable you to automate many processes. Picture a long line waiting to enter a popular event. Many people in line may have tickets already, some may need to purchase, some need special accommodations and others may simply want to ask what the event is, how much the tickets cost or what other events are coming soon. IVR takes everyone out of that line that has a common question or wants to perform a simple task. This shortens the line for everyone else that may have a more complex issue and needs to speak with a live agent.
A well-designed IVR system will increase customer satisfaction, especially during times of high call volume. Customers won’t have to wait for answers to simple questions; they will have the ability to perform tasks themselves, and—if necessary, they can be transferred to an agent best suited for their needs.
IVR is used by various companies and in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, banking, and utilities. And while IVR technology has been around since the 1970s, today’s IVRs provide far more features and a more personal touch, including answering open-ended questions.
What Are the Benefits of IVR Outsourcing?
Not every company has the time or energy needed to build or manage a particular solution. By outsourcing, you don’t have to. People can focus on higher priority projects while a real IVR answers your real phone calls in real-time. Take a look at some of the benefits of IVR and why you should consider outsourcing.
Improved Customer Experience
Nobody likes waiting on hold. In fact, 40% or more of customers would choose a self-service option rather than speak to a live agent. IVR improves customer experience by giving them what they want: voice self-service applications. This reduces average hold times and offers customers a self-service option twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year. Also, IVR allows you to tap into available call analytics to optimize applications and better serve your customers. By outsourcing IVR, ALL employees are more readily available to focus on more critical aspects of your business.
Training and maintaining live agents are expensive. So, it doesn’t make sense for live agents to spend unnecessary money and time handling routine tasks and answering simple inquiries. Using IVR to automate those tasks is cheaper, and it also frees up live agents to take calls with more complex issues. Customer service improves while overall costs decline. Also, outsourcing IVR can result in additional savings. Cloud-based services eliminate the need to purchase and maintain on-site software, which can be pricey.
Enabling voice applications to utilize real-time data is ideal. If you adopt a cPaas platform to manage IVR and voice apps, you can use APIs to connect to and integrate with a vast amount of external technologies. For example, a cloud platform, like Plum Fuse, offers pre-built applications, which can shorten development cycles and speed up timelines for testing and deployment. And optimizing applications for better customer service is more manageable with built-in analytics and reporting.
6 Considerations for Outsourcing IVR
Now that you know what IVR is and how outsourcing can benefit your company, here are six considerations to keep in mind to get the best IVR outsourcing available:
Every business handles sensitive information, so every business needs top-notch security, especially when adding new technology vendors and growing your operations. Whether your company handles private information like bank account details, social security numbers and medical history, or simply customer names and phone numbers, customers should never have to worry about their data security. Consider IVR security and compliance that doesn’t compromise customer experience for safety and protect the confidentiality and integrity of your customers. The best IVR outsourcing vendors will offer PCI-DSS, SOC2, and HIPAA compliance standards. For example, Plum Voice’s cloud infrastructure meets these compliance standards and, therefore, meets the security standards of its customers and the industries they serve. This was accomplished through rigorous audits so that Plum Voice’s customers would never have to worry about the security of their data moving through applications on Plum Voice’s platform.
The reliability of your contact center directly correlates to the success of your business. Nobody can afford downtime. Your messages should get through every single time—no matter when or where they’re sent. For the best IVR outsourcing, look for a vendor with 100% uptime. Plum Voice’s cloud IVR platform handles billions of calls and is so reliable that it guarantees a 100% uptime in all service-level agreements.
Natural disasters are going to happen. And while it’s uncertain when they will occur or how much damage they may cause, you still need to plan for them. The best IVR outsourcing options will be those with more than one data center. And those data centers should be separated by a few hundred miles, at least. Think about this—a few years ago, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, nobody knew exactly where it would make landfall. If your data center was in Boston and it struck close to Boston, it’s likely your infrastructure would be disrupted. If you had another available data center across the county, that’s where your customer traffic would be routed.
Another thing to look out for when thinking about the number of data centers in each data center’s capacity. For example, Plum Voice has three data centers in the US: Boston, Philadelphia, and Dallas. The dispersed geography of these data centers is essential when planning for natural disasters. And their infrastructure is set up to ensure no single event will reduce capacity. Customers will not experience a reduction in services, even if there is a current burst in traffic.
The requirement for this design is described as N+1 redundancy—meaning: if your company has one data center worth of traffic, another data center is required. So, the redundant capacity necessary is the amount of traffic that one data center can handle even though you’re paying for two. However, if you have three data centers—you have two centers worth redundant capacity, and you still only need to pay for one extra.
Choose a platform with scaling in mind. It’s one of the biggest reasons companies move their IVR to the cloud. Think about it—you want the option to expand, work with more customers, and increase revenue. Your IVR vendor should be capable of handling growth effectively in order to maintain excellent customer service. If calls increase dramatically or slowly over time, a scalable cloud solution empowers companies to act appropriately and improve performance. No matter how many calls you expect to receive in the future, get an infrastructure that scales with your voice application. Then you can focus on taking care of your customers.
An IVR centered around customers is a process—not a product. Technology continually evolves, but with continuous updates, you don’t need the next version. Choose an IVR vendor that keeps its platform up-to-date. This means you don’t have to spend valuable time and money maintaining servers on your end.
Plum Voice platforms support the latest technology, including text-to-speech (TTS) and advanced speech recognition (ASR). Check out the artificial intelligence (AI) apps, IVR analytics tools, and more.
The correct development approach is the one that meets the specific needs of your company. If you’re interested in coding, try code-based Plum DEV. It leverages the same flexibility and power as VoiceXML. If you’re a non-coder, check out Plum Fuse. With no coding necessary,
Plum Fuse makes the development process easy, and it also offers a visual call-flow editor to develop and deploy rapidly.
Now that you know what to look for to find the best IVR outsourcing, you can start your search knowing exactly what questions to ask. With the right provider, your company can start improving customer service while increasing internal functionality and reducing overall costs. What are you waiting for? The time to enhance your efficiency and replace your outdated technology is now. Get in touch with an expert today and learn everything you need to know about Plum Voice’s IVR platform.