Does your phone system implement some interactive voice response, aka IVR? Do you know how bad IVR can drive your customers nuts? It can actually drive them away. Here are a couple of examples from my personal life.
Here in Houston there’s a very successful Greek restaurant called Niko Niko’s. Stella likes this place a lot. I like their food but I don’t like to go there. It’s always busy. It’s simply too noisy a place to have a relaxing meal.
Yesterday Dan York, in his role as Director Of Conversations at Voxeo, gave a webinar* on HDVoice. Dan’s presentation included a good basic introduction to wideband telephony. He cited the well known limitations of the legacy PSTN before moving on to highlight the wideband capabilities of Voxeo’s new Prophesy and Prism product offerings.
This session was part of the companies Jam Session series that introduces new capabilities to developers. To put it simplistically, Voxeo is a tool-maker. The offerings of the tool-makers typically lead the services that we eventually see in the larger consumer space. That makes the tool-makers very important. That the tool-makers show both imagination and leadership is critically important.
Dan York presented a nice introduction to the issues surrounding IP v6 implementation with respect to real-time communication using SIP. If you’re new to IP v6, as I am, then the recording of that session is a recommended resource.
Sometimes people take the shortest or cheapest path when it really doesn’t serve them well. So it was for my employer. For the past year or more the IVR menu at our main US number was voiced by the CEO of our US operation. Not that his voice is bad, but he’s an ex-pat Englishman with an accent that emphasizes the fact that we’re not a US-based company.
A while ago bkw of Freeswitch fame tweeted something about using Fiverr.com to find Lauri Murdock to voice some IVR. Fiverr.com is a site where people offer whatever service they provide for $5.
Since we had recently made some changes in staffing we needed to rework our IVR tree. I thought, hey for $5 noone is going to complain if we get a nice female voice. So I just ordered recording without asking anyone about it.
Here’s a neat thing that’s about to happen to enhance our customer service approach at work. I work for a UK based firm. We have a small staff in the US, the core of our development and support operations being at the head office in Cambridge. So I call overseas a lot.
Sometimes our customers need to call the UK based support staff to get detailed answers to technical troubles, or initiate diagnostic processes. In many cases they simple call the UK number.
However, we’ve recently encountered a situation where a significant user (ie large investment in our systems) can’t actually call our head office because his corporate telecom policy precludes him dialing overseas from his desk. This is a serious drag, but he works for a large enough enterprise that policy cannot be changed or even questioned.
A VOIP solution to the rescue. We’re setting up a DID local to his office that brings him to a basic IVR allowing him to “press 1 for tech support”, “press 2 for….etc” where the menu options route his call to various UK or US based staff. This number will be a dedicated support hot-line for that company.
How’s that for improved customer service? A dedicated support line with toll-free global reach….all for you…Mr Customer. Such made-to-measure service offerings are just one example of using voip technology to extend the reach of your organization in new and effective ways. New applications are the key, not new technologies.