The current slate of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system solutions offer much more than a simple recorded message at a few keypad prompts.
The most advanced product offerings have the ability to transform your call center into a fully integrated and highly-efficient customer service hub.
One of your first considerations in selecting an IVR solution should be whether you want to handle maintenance in-house or opt for a provider-hosted solution. Although the features will be similar, the initial startup requirements will be very different. Whatever you decide, here are just some of the available features at your disposal.
- Standard features. The most basic IVR systems consist of a prerecorded message and a series of keypad prompts. However, any decent IVR system these days should come with the other standard features that make the experience less awkward and more compatible with your typical call center routines.
- Speech recognition. In the early days of IVR technology, speech recognition was a high-end option. But the transition to mobile and hands-free devices has made it a standard feature in any IVR solution that is capable of holding its own in today's option-rich marketplace.
- Text-to-voice. The real benefit of text-to-voice features is that they make it possible to integrate your IVR system with database applications. A robust solution should be capable of feeding data from your CRM or other business software into the IVR process.
- Web interface. Hosted IVR solutions often provide convenient, web-based interfaces for their customers. Company managers and supervisors can use the web interface for reporting and IVR account management.
- Standards support. It's important to make sure your IVR manufacturer supports standard industry protocols including VoiceXML, CCXML, SIP, and MRCP. Don't underestimate the value of these protocols. Proprietary programming can wreak havoc on your IT department and severely inhibit data migration processes later on.
- Call recording. Call recording is an added feature that is provided by many IVR vendors. The benefit is that you have the ability to capture and archive call-center interactions, and monitor your call center performance.