IVR Extended Life Maintenance

A challenge faced by almost every customer with IVR equipment is system obsolescence. Servicing the IVR industry since 1993, we have seen our fair share of client companies looking for effective ways to minimize the operational and financial impact of equipment obsolescence.

Typically, IVR system obsolescence occurs in four primary areas:

  • Operating System
  • System software
  • Hardware
  • Security

Notice anything really important missing? How about Application Obsolescence?

Our experience has shown (with few exceptions) that application obsolescence alone rarely drives the need for new equipment purchases. So if the application seems to work great and last a long time, what options exist to extend the life of an IVR system when the original system vendor no longer provides hardware or systems support?

You basically have three choices:

1. Buy new equipment. The system vendor will love you, but it’s really not the solution you were looking for.
2. Move to an IVR hosted service / cloud computing service provider like Acclaim Telecom.
3. Engage a 3rd party firm, such as Acclaim Telecom with expertise extending the hardware and systems software for IVR systems.

Over the years our clients have expressed the following reasons for considering the decision to choose extended life maintenance support for older IVR systems:

1. Current system(s) are performing well and the customer wishes to maximize the value of their investment for many more years.
2. Preservation of (potentially scarce) capital $$ for other more pressing corporate needs.
3. Customer is trimming expenses.
4. Manufacturer has discontinued hardware, software or operating system support for their installed equipment.
5. Manufacturer’s upgrade path is very expensive and the customer is looking for alternatives.
6. Customer is moving to a new IVR manufacturer’s system and needs short-term support on the current system.
7. Customer is considering moving to a hosted solution and wants to continue to run their existing applications until the migration is complete.

So how do you determine if the choice of IVR extended hardware maintenance is a viable option? In most cases it is a straightforward process.

If the hardware is stable, the existing or new application needs do not require the latest and greatest features of new IVR capabilities, and the operating system can be upgraded to accommodate the corporate IT security requirements, you are probably a good candidate. If you would like to learn more about our IVR Extended Maintenance Services or discuss your specific need, we would be happy to share our experiences with you. Give us a call at 1-866-324-6416 or email us at atsi_ sales@acclaimtelecom.com.

New Web Site Announcement

Our new website is up and running!

Assuming you have landed on our blog site by way of our homepage, you will notice our new, updated website. Thanks to the Dallas web design company, Masterlink, for their help on this effort.

We hope you will agree that our new website is easy to navigate and allows you to quickly find the information you desire.

We intend to periodically update our website with our ever evolving services as well as make it a desired destination for IVR related information. We welcome your comments and suggestions to make this a better resource for you.

Check out our IVR Hosting web page for information regarding our hosted services offering, or check out our Managed Services offerings if you have existing IVR equipment or are considering upgrading, outsourcing, or replacing your existing IVR systems.

Thanks for stopping by!

Confession from an IVR Company

I have a confession to make. I sometimes hate IVR as much as the next person. It’s true, despite the fact that our company makes a living in the IVR industry. So what’s up?

Is the problem that IVR applications seem to prevent a customer or potential customer from actually speaking with a live person when they really want to? Or is it a more fundamental problem of incorrect usage of IVR technologies? Frankly it can be both, but most of the time I submit the problem is the latter…poor application usage.

If IVR were a truly “evil” technology (as some like to gleefully proclaim), no one would use it. If IVR applications could not have a positive impact a firm’s operational effectiveness and customer satisfaction, firms would not invest the money and time to implement these systems.

When considering the use of IVR technologies (whether you are enhancing an existing application, or considering your first usage), it is important to clearly understand the desired business results as well as the impact on the user’s experience. Like all things in life, if the experience is not positive or at least an effective experience, you increase the risk of losing an existing customer, or alienating a potential new customer.

There are many considerations that go into a successfully deployed IVR application, far too many to discuss in this blog entry. But as a starter, consider some of these basic concepts from a user’s point of view as you evaluate how to best deploy your IVR application.

  • Is your IVR application going to be used for simple or complex information retrieval or transactions?
  • Is the information being sought from the IVR system going to require cognitive human decision making skills, or primarily straight forward data retrieval or capture?
  • Will you provide a trap door that allows a caller to “zero” out and speak with a person? If not, how many times have you ever heard the IVR introduction to say there are no operators standing by?
  • Have you studied or polled your customers as to what information they would prefer to retrieve from an IVR system vs. what you want to provide from the IVR application?
  • How easy and at what point in the application do you allow someone to exit the IVR application and speak with a live agent?
  • Are you going to force the user to listen to a series of commercials before they can interact with the system, or do you actually ask the caller if they would like to hear additional information?
  • How logical (and effective) is the actual call flow when presenting the options to the caller?

The fundamental message we hope you receive is “Put the Customer First” when using IVR systems. Technology is rarely the primary reason behind customer dissatisfaction, but it can surely exacerbate the problem.

Have a really frustrating experience with an IVR application or a great example of a good use of an IVR application? We would love to hear your comments.