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November, 2011

IVR systems can be both difficult to design and set up, and difficult to manage and update, resulting in low usability and user frustration. So, in terms of technology, what are the features of an easy-to-design, easy-to-manage IVR system? Here’s our top six.

While in Japan last week, your correspondent was bemused to hear an industry colleague say that Japanese people prefer talking to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems rather than live call center agents, because they can hang up at any time without causing offence. Behind the cultural observation lies a more universal one: that people (worldwide) find many IVR systems frustrating and inadequate, and eventually give up. Why? Because they just don’t do an effective job. But why? Perhaps because they can be both difficult to design and set up, and difficult to manage and update once they are in place.

That got us thinking: in terms of technology, what are the features of an easy-to-design, easy-to-manage IVR system? Here’s our top six:

The system should be

  1. accessible by non-programmers. No more XML-based input systems. Modern scripting systems allow all activities to be described in flow diagrams in natural language
  2. open, allowing users to deploy whatever Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) or Text to Speech (TTS) product they choose
  3. scalable, allowing capacity increase with no extra hardware and zero downtimeAlso,
  4. all IVR scripts should provide for multiple language support (so that UK tools can easily be used in Japan, for instance)
  5. simple but effective test tools should be available to get new scripts online in hours/ days, not weeks/ months
  6. the scripting language should provide for a rich range of database and call control functions that can be easily plugged in

And this last point is probably the key one. Consider how many times you have found yourself in an IVR queue, giving out your details. Then maybe you get to talk to an agent, and what do they do? Often as not, they ask you for the same details! If you ask why, they say “it’s for security reasons”. Rubbish; it’s because the darned IVR system couldn’t pass your details across to the live agent – who is in another system. A great way to lose customers – and there’s no excuse for it.

Any IVR (or call center) system should be able to transfer a call as the caller needs, and ensure that all relevant data supplied by the caller, as well as access to any data held by the call center, goes with the transfer.

A well-designed, well-managed IVR system will help, not hinder. No user should feel the need to hang up in frustration, whether in Japan or anywhere else. Once again, choice of technology makes all the difference between satisfaction and frustra…

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Flexible Contact Center Platform

Softdial Contact Center™ - tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Partners can run a functionally rich and flexible contact center stack in the cloud

Blended Media Desktop

Blended Media Desktop

Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

Work Anywhere

Work Anywhere

Browser-based tools, no software installation required

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Cloud Or On-Premise, Multi-Tenant

Scalable, resilient, secure, proven

Customise, Localise, White Label

Customise, Localise, White Label

Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

Integration Via APIs

Integration Via APIs

'Swap out' components and integrate with 3rd party apps

World Class Development

World Class Development

Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries

Capabilities

Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

All Media Types

All Media Types

Voice, chat, email, social, etc - fully integrated and blended

Agent Multi-Tasking

Agent Multi-Tasking

Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

Dynamic Workforce Management

Dynamic Workforce Management

Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to manage agents and balance work load, across all media types

Predictive Dialing

Predictive Dialing

Best-of-breed performance under compliance

Optimised Inbound Routing

Optimised Inbound Routing

Smart rules and 'best-available' decisions to drive great customer service

Agent Scripts

Agent Scripts

Help agents achieve and maintain excellence

Voice and Screen Recording

Voice and Screen Recording

See and hear exactly how agents are interacting

Analytics and Data Feeds

Analytics and Data Feeds

Measure and evaluate performance at every level

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

IVR, Bots & Conversational AI

Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

Customer Journey Tracking

Customer Journey Tracking

Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations

Modules

A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment.

Softdial One™

Softdial One™

Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

Softdial Scripter™

Softdial Scripter™

Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

Sytel AI Dialer™

Sytel AI Dialer™

Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

Softdial Pathfinder™

Softdial Pathfinder™

Precise routing rules for 'best available' connection

Softdial Media Server™

Softdial Media Server™

Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Softdial Reporter™ 5

Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

Softdial Publisher™

Softdial Publisher™

Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Softdial Recording Monitor™

Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Softdial Campaign Manager™

Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

Softdial Repository™

Softdial Repository™

Central storage and configuration of common resources

Sytel Global Compliance™

Sytel Global Compliance™

Flexible 'no contact' rules to protect contact center and consumer

Markets

Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

Customer Service

Customer Service

Connect quickly to well equipped agents

Sales & Telemarketing

Sales & Telemarketing

Maximise agent productivity with best-of-breed predictive dialing

Healthcare

Healthcare

Secure, highly-configurable multichannel communications for excellence in patient care

Market Research

Market Research

Best-of-breed predictive dialing with CATI integration

Collections

Collections

Automated inbound/ outbound blending integrated with any debt management app