News of the Death of IVR is Greatly Exaggerated

On our own IVR Community hosted by TMC, Tracey Schelmetic asks if IVR is on its way out in her article “Is It Really Time for Sunset on the IVR?

“While the dialer may be here to stay – the expanding application for outbound pre-recorded calls can testify to this – there are some industry analysts who believe the days are numbered for the IVR. The reason? The enormous proliferation of smart phones and the apps available for them.”

Tracey’s curiosity about the future viability of technologies like IVR are based largely on a blurb from an article at CNBC, “2013 Mobile Predictions: Consumer Hardware Industry Faces Looming Threat from Tablets” (article no longer available)

IVR will fade into obscurity – Companies will completely rethink customer support, leading to the demise of Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Instead, consumers will turn to mobile apps to inquire about products and services, ultimately making call centers irrelevant. Insurance companies already allow you to submit claims directly from your smartphone. Others will quickly follow suit.”

This kind of ominous foretelling has been heard before, but the truth is, as Tracey states, “Customers still prefer speaking to a live agent over any other customer service media, so it’s unlikely they will give up picking up the phone to call a toll-free support line anytime soon.”

It’s true IVR isn’t going away any time soon, but IVR is going somewhere: and that is becoming a critical part of the customer experience. IVR will be improved and optimized just like the applications in the aforementioned mobile-centric article will be. Written by a company that “creates rich user experiences that reinvent how businesses engage the world through mobile”, the article states, “Only the strong survive – Massive consolidation in the app development space will mean fewer, but more impactful players delivering strategic business solutions.”

This is very likely true of IVR providers – only the best will remain, and we’d like to think USAN will be one of those still standing. But IVR technology will always exist. And it will only get better as long as USAN is developing it.

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