Will Mobile Apps Trump the IVR System for Customer Service?
January 05, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The emergence of self-service as the preferred channel for customer / company interactions would appear to be a great opportunity driver for IVR (interactive voice response) systems. Instead, the growing availability of apps consumers can access via smartphones and other devices appears to be impacting the IVR system.
This Destination CRM report focused on this phenomenon, suggesting that within the call center, the IVR system has been relegated to the fallback option. Customers are trying other methods before placing a call to the call center. Even then, the customer has already tried self-service options and simply wants to connect with a live person. In the past year or two, a number of studies have suggested that when consumers are presented with a choice, they prefer to use a mobile app on a smartphone that will interact with an IVR system.
A recent study conducted by SpeechCycle (News - Alert) and Echo Research found that half of all smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile app for customer service to try and resolve an issue before calling into the call center. Another 56 percent indicated they were willing to use an app to avoid connecting with the call center via live interaction altogether.
According to Mickey Ristroph, Mutual Mobile’s chief technology officer for mobile development, it’s safe to assume that mobile will not completely replace IVR or even the Web. It will, however, become a consumer’s first choice. For those offering an IVR system or Web-based solutions, the opportunity here is to develop solutions that integrate well with mobile applications.
To develop the right approach to integrate, it’s first important to understand that the IVR system and mobile apps are not competing products. Instead, they should be developed as complementing products. The former is a slower and more seasoned IVR system, while the latter is a young upstart that is both quick and nimble. Both applications have the opportunity to gain value from the other. Much of the expertise built into IVR development can be extremely valuable for the creation of mobile apps.
With a closer look at these two technology platforms, they both have the same goal: providing companies with a cost-effective method for enabling customers to perform specific tasks on their own without involving expensive live agents.
Scott Kolman (News - Alert), SpeechCycle’s senior vice president of marketing, told Destination CRM that the IVR system and mobile applications are very complementary. The main connection is that both platforms aim to provide a service or solve a customer problem – both of which add value for the company and the customer. Will we see additional collaboration partnership arise between mobile app providers and IVR system vendors? Given the value of the relationship, don’t be too surprised when alignments emerge.
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Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Juliana Kenny