The Rise of Speech-Based IVR
February 14, 2008
IVR systems vendors in the United States have been facing challenges in recent years stemming demand saturation in traditional end-user verticals such as telecommunications, financial services, insurance and travel. Vendors have been hard at work restructuring their product offerings to suit the changing preferences of customers. As a result, the bulk of sales has been in the form of replacements or upgrades, as the majority of enterprises are expected to step up the incorporation of speech-based IVR systems that are rapidly gaining in popularity.
A recent report from Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) examined the current and future prospects of the U.S. IVR systems market by analyzing the significant challenges, drivers and restraints faced by participants.
The advent of advanced speech technologies such as automatic speech recognition, 'text to speech', and speaker verification provides complete automation of customer-centric business processes and is gradually dispelling the apprehensions associated with the earlier IVR systems. Driven by these technological advancements, the IVR market has begun to live up to the initial expectations.
"Speech-enabled IVR systems have a flat menu structure and callers are spared from the painful experience of traversing through hierarchical touchtone menus to access information," said a Frost & Sullivan analyst. "This has reduced the 'opt-outs' for a live agent during a caller-system interaction, while increasing overall enterprise productivity."
In many cases, enterprises have managed to increase return on investment (ROI) and productivity within a year of deployment of speech-enabled IVR systems. This is mainly because of the fact that call centers could engage their agents in more meaningful functions.
"The quickness of ROI has been directly proportional to the complexities of applications and it has been generally more in case of composite functions," said the analyst. "To put it in a nutshell, providing hosted IVR systems with speech functionality could prove to be decisive in increasing the revenue flow of IVR vendors."
Brian Solomon is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Brian Solomon’s columnist page.
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