Buyer Be Aware: A Guide to Buying IVR

If you’re thinking IVR, chances are you’re thinking of first-time installation, replacing what you have, or maximizing the return on your existing system. We’ve put together an eBook to help with all three. It’s called Press or Say Success: An IVR Buyer’s Guide for the 21st Century. It’s a no hype, no promo, no nonsense look at today’s IVR landscape. I think you’ll find it useful as you explore all your IVR options.

It opens with “Five Ways IVR Systems Fail”: a hard look at the reasons IVR fails business expectations and customer needs—and how to fix them. I’ll summarize it in five words: IVRs haven’t been smart enough. That’s the reason customers zero out as soon as they can. By smart I mean: knowing who’s calling, what they’ve ordered, who their sales rep is . . . the list of things an IVR should know about the customer is a long one.

Chapter Two is titled “Must-have Capabilities to Increase Sales with an IVR System.” IVR ROI has traditionally focused on saving money. There’s a whole other side of the ROI equation: making money. That’s what we talk about here. It’s a very tactical chapter—very practical—pinpointing specific techniques you can use to increase upsell and crosssell through the IVR (often without any live agent involvement). These are things you can begin to implement right now—or if your current IVR can’t handle it, things you can add to your product requirements.

In “An IVR Worthy of Love” we share some of the features advanced IVR systems have that transform it from agent gatekeeper to revenue contributor. We touch on only a few, including directed and natural speech, identification and authentication, and personalization. We don’t hit on every one (Visual IVR, multiple languages and voice identification to name a few). But there’s definitely enough substance to make reading worth your while.

You’ve got a lot of options with today’s IVR: you can put together an IVR system that fits you to a “T.” Whether that’s core touchtone response or sophisticated natural speech systems. In “Which IVR is right for you” we offer up some general guidelines, and some specific scenarios, that you can use as a roadmap to making the best choice (or choices since many of the best IVR systems use multiple techniques). We take a look at the value, the costs, and the circumstances under which each is a good—or a poor—option.

We do get a little bit in the weeds, but not too much, in “Understanding IVR Portability.” The days of monolithic, one-system-does-all IVRs are over. Today, portability is the key: being able to move your IVR from one platform to another without trauma (or a lot of work). Most vendors claim to offer it, but as you’ll read in this chapter, it’s not always the case.

We set out to make this guide more comprehensive, more practical, and more objective than the, thinly veiled product promotion pieces that Buyer’s Guide usually are. We wanted everyone to get something out of it—no matter which vendor you choose—and I think we succeeded. Judge for yourself: you can download Press or Say Success: an IVR Buyer’s Guide for the 21st Century here.