Voice Self-Service Is Essential for Achieving Enterprise and Contact Center Goals

By Donna Fluss

A Q3 2009 survey asked 107 enterprise, contact center, and IT executives and decision-makers from around the globe to identify their top goals and priorities for 2010. Surprisingly, voice self-service solutions (also known as interactive voice response systems, or IVRs) are expected to play a key role in helping enterprises of all sizes achieve their 2010 objectives.

The top 2010 goal for enterprise and contact center executives is improving customer service. The second most important goal for enterprise executives is cutting operating costs; this is similar to the number two goal for contact center leaders, which is to improve productivity. Companies where contact center VPs and leaders have aligned their top goals with those of the executive suite are much more likely to succeed in retaining and enhancing customer relationships.

The DMG benchmark study indicates that IT has its own priorities; IT’s top goals for 2010 are to meet the needs of business customers and to keep the enterprise’s technology and applications running at optimal levels. This shows that IT organizations are entering 2010 with a strong appreciation of the need to support their business clients’ goals and objectives. It’s disappointing that IT does not seem to make an effort to understand their customers’ goals, as this would help organizations to meet them better on an ongoing basis. This goal misalignment is the primary reason for the lack of trust between IT and contact centers.

IVR to the Rescue: An astounding 28.1 percent of companies not currently using IVR systems are in the process of looking for a voice self-service solution to help them meet their goals. The recession has pushed companies that were previously hesitant to use voice self-service automation to make investments in these solutions. An IVR initiative that is planned, designed, and rolled out properly can reduce the volume of calls to live agents by 20-to-90 percent over time, depending upon the purpose of the contact center and the tasks programmed into the solution. The trend toward increased adoption of IVR is expected to continue even after the economy recovers. The benefits and cost savings from a well-designed IVR implementation generally convince even the most reluctant managers that these solutions are effective both for their customers and their cost structure.

The primary drivers for current and prospective voice self-service users who are considering investments in hosted/managed service IVRs. Two obvious reasons why prospective users are seriously considering hosted IVR solutions are to avoid capital expense and minimize start-up costs, not surprising during tough economic times. A less obvious reason for looking into hosting is to acquire the expertise along with the solution.

Donna Fluss is the founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, a provider of contact center and analytics research, market analysis, and consulting. To obtain a free copy of the fifty-one-page report, “IVR to the Rescue! A Benchmarking Study of 2010 Enterprise, Contact Center and IT Priorities and the Critical Role of IVRs in Achieving These Goals,” contact Deborah Navarra at deborah.navarra@dmgconsult.com or 516-628-1098.

[From Connection Magazine March 2010]

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