Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How Mobile Self-Service has Upped IVR Revenue

Recently, a company in India implemented a retail IVR system for passersby to call and order items they see in ads. The phone number appears in the ad, and users can identify the particular item they want and pay via credit card. CEO Deven Limayae explains:
The logic is to use cell phones as an interaction medium with screen, where the user's cell phone number acts as the customer's identity, and the retailer can actually come across the potential buyers or customers. Also, the generated customer data helps the retailer to understand customer's behavior and psychology.
Tailoring voice recognition systems to be used on mobile phones is particularly attractive for consumers, travelers, or anyone on the go. IVR applications in mobile systems tap into the spontaneity of consumer behavior, as opposed to the traditional IVR systems that are generally targeted towards landline calls.

Whatever its use, nowadays IVR is largely about self-service. The ability to call from anywhere, at any time, is part of the advantage of a voice recognition system. For companies, one of the biggest benefits of self-service IVR implementation is financial gain. If callers can check flight times, make appointments, or purchase products on their own, callers will not have to queue at all and agent time will be significantly freed up. Steve Morrell, author of a report on self-service IVR comments on the benefits of self-service:
We believe that this is only the beginning of what telephone self-service can deliver. Of course, not all calls are suitable for self-service-- respondents estimate that an average of only 31 percent of inbound calls would suit it- and over-use of this channel can frustrate customers and severely damage a brand. However, for simple and repetitive tasks, such as account balances, meter readings and ticket bookings, self-service works for both customer and business, as there’s never a queue to wait in. This should also mean that if a customer needs to speak to a real person, then it’s more likely that there’ll be someone available to help them.
In fact, self-service is cited as one of the reasons for the incredible growth in the voice recognition industry:
Growth in the IVR market is being driven by strong demand for self-service applications ...
Recent estimates have placed worldwide IVR revenue at $1.867 billion at the end of 2007, and predictions place the continued growth at $2.4 billion by 2010.

Still, self-service has plenty of room to improve, with only 31 percent of inbound calls being entirely self-service. If IVR systems are built to be more efficient, handling calls in a complete and independent manner, we should expect continued growth in the industry.