Outbound Call Center Featured Article

Contact Centers Advancing with Outbound IVR

July 02, 2009

Contact center solutions are playing a more important role today as companies place an even greater focus on improving customer experiences.
 
In the call center space, outbound communications make it to proactively reach out to customers and provide important information, reminders and updates.
 
Using technologies like IVR and predictive dialers, call centers have been empowered to cut costs while also improving caller experiences.
 
In the past, unwanted interruptions from automated calls have given predictive dialers, the technology which dials and connects callers with a live agent, a bad rap.
 
As technology advances to improve automation and the way humans interact with computers, predictive dialers are now being supplemented by outbound IVR solutions, which a – as Datamonitor reports – has a number benefits over predictive dialers.

Instead of connecting live callers to an agent when the phone is answered, outbound IVR applications use advanced speech recognition and dual tone multi frequency to help callers more easily interact with the automated system and complete transactions without the need for human assistance, or the systems can route live calls to agents when needed.
 
Advantages of outbound IVR over predictive dialers include the ability to save on costs for agents and to allow timely information, such as a flight delay, to be relayed to a large number of contacts in a short period of time.
 
Using an IVR system, callers can interact with an automated system and get specific details or perform transactions. Outbound IVR systems also have another level of intelligence than the predictive dialer. Using speech recognition and DTMF, they can verify callers, register personal details and make the overall call more personalized. In addition, the solutions can understand voice commands that require a call to be routed to a live agent, if needed.
 
Flexibility and time sensitivity also play an important role in outbound IVR solutions as it’s possible to communicate with customers after office hours, and to reach them for reminders or updates at times that are more strategic or most convenient to them.
 
This is an important benefit of outbound IVR solutions as predictive dialers can sometimes have a delayed robotic interaction when a live call is initially connected – decreasing efficiency and customer satisfaction levels.
 
According to Datamonitor’s report, “The Rise of Outbound Applications in an Economic Recession,” the chart below shows North America will be the largest market for outbound IVR through 2014. Datamonitor predicts the total market will grow from $250m to $562m from 2009-2014 and that growth will continue as outbound IVR apps are more integrated into customer service suites and as hosted capabilities improve the cost of systems integration. 

 
 
The market for Outbound IVR is set to grow as more and more companies look for ways to retain customers and “do more with less.” From what was once only static notifications sent out to a mass audience via predictive dialers, these systems are becoming more and more advanced and integrated into a companies overall solution – helping to truly differentiate themselves.
 

Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Stefania’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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