Avis Installs Px Speech IVR System to Handle Simple Transactions
November 19, 2012
By Rory Lidstone
, TMCnet Contributing Writer
Avis Budget Group is a company that offers vehicle rental services through its Avis and Budget brands, boasting 10,000 rental locations in about 175 countries across the globe. With such a wide reach, this $5.9-billion company obviously has thousands of customers to deal with every day. In order to do this better, Avis recently installed interactive voice response (IVR) technology to enhance its reservation system.
Customers obviously enjoy faster service and this system aims to fulfill this desire, bypassing dealing with a live agent. The system is also part of a cost-cutting initiative put into place by Avis after the company lost $29 million last year.
However, poorly implemented IVR could have an opposite effect on both fronts. Fortunately, while many earlier automated systems would often be confusing and frustrating to deal with, newer technology builds upon historical customer information to produce better results. Indeed, the system Avis chose, Px Speech from a company called 24/7, actually learns as it handles calls over time. Specifically, it recognizes incoming phone numbers and matches them to information in Avis' databases to predict what the customer will want.
For example, Px Speech can see that a customer is calling toward the end of his or her rental period and as such will greet the customer by name, ask the customer to confirm that the name is correct, then prioritize the automated questions so that the options to extend a rental or request roadside help come up sooner.
That said, Avis still started small with its IVR implementation, targeting the 17 percent of its incoming calls which involve simple transactions, such as cancelling or confirming a reservation, extending a rental or getting a copy of a receipt. Recently, though, the company expanded its system to callers looking to create a new reservation. New customers are then asked for a few key pieces of information, saving up to 30 seconds per call compared to a call with a live representative.
Of course, Avis still sees the value of live representatives for more complex interactions. In fact, the company also recently hired on 235 people to its Business Support Center (BSC) in Budapest, Hungary.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey