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IVRWhitePaper - Enhancing the Self-Service Experience An...

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©2008 The Ascent Group, Inc. 1 Enhancing the Self-Service Experience An Extract from IVR Improvement Strategies 2008, A new research report published by the Ascent Group, Inc. IVR Integrated Voice Response (IVR) is the most widely used call center technology worldwide, after the switch or Automatic Call Distributor (ACD). IVR is a telecommunications technology that accepts a combination of voice and telephone touch-tone keypad input and provides appropriate responses in the form of voice, fax, callback, e-mail and perhaps other media. IVR technology has evolved from DTMF (Dial Tone Multi-Frequency, or touch-tone) to ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) in recent years with the maturity of voice recognition engines. A Little History In the technology’s infancy, Auto Attendants (AA) and Voice Response Units (VRU) provided menu options and scripting tools to direct callers to certain queues or to provide information to callers, with minimal interaction. The IVR brought integration with enterprise information systems and the ability to interact with callers to customize questions and responses. ASR, which is slowing coming into its own, adds conversational interaction with callers as well as a more effective way to gather input for interaction and customization. It’s taken more than a decade for IVR acceptance to grow, but only after companies realized they were alienating customers at the expense of automation. The push in recent years has emphasized the importance of the “customer experience” and its linkage to customer satisfaction and profitability. Companies are now actively addressing IVR usability through customer-friendly design. Our study results confirm this transformation—IVR-handled calls have increased as a result of continuous improvement in IVR usability and functionality. However, the drive for automation has been somewhat moderated with the quest for “self-service”—providing IVR services as an option for customers to help themselves, rather than forcing callers to use IVR services. In short, IVR technology offers companies more cost effective call management through call segmentation, automated call handling, and informational messaging. IVR offers customers 24- hour services and privacy. IVRs can also help companies manage peak call volumes, enabling companies to be more responsive to more customers. Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) is slowly gaining in popularity, as our survey results confirm. ASR facilitates communication between man and the machine by letting callers speak, often naturally, commands and menu options, rather than pushing touch-tone buttons on the telephone keypad. Recognized speech is then digitally converted so it can be processed by the IVR and other associated systems. Correctly designed speech recognition IVR applications offer a more personal, pleasant, and efficient customer experience—a more human interface.
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©2008 The Ascent Group, Inc.
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue.

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IVRWhitePaper - Enhancing the Self-Service Experience An...

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