Finding really awesome IVR resources is no easy feat. In fact, just searching for that term gives you loads of pages by companies just trying to sell you stuff. But, making the decision to set up your company with an IVR is tricky if you’ve never done it. Finding great resources is the only way to help you make an informed purchase.
Here are some of the best IVR resources I’ve come across. If you’ve seen any others, let me know!
A solid definition you can understand is the best resource anyone could ask for. It will help you understand the services offered by IVR companies, help give you a good grasp on what you’re looking for in industry terms, and make sifting through webpages a lot easier. The resource most visited by most of us, Wikipedia, tells us that interactive voice response is something like “a technology used in telephony to control systems where the interface can be broken down”. They go on to talk about DNIS and dual-tone multi-frequency signaling. It’s a bit technical, but still a good enough description.
The Intelligent Call Automation blog acknowledges that IVRs can be somewhat complicated to understand, but breaks the definition into two categories: (1) basic call routing, and (2) user-based support. There are also some great definitions of the more complicated aspects of interactive voice response if you’re up for the light reading material.
In understandable language though, an IVR is a telephone system that uses technology to interact with a caller’s voice. IVRs can be built into the actual phone, or (more commonly) are in the form of software you can buy or use from a company that hosts the software.
Whitepapers, or handy reference sheets on IVRs that use artificial intelligence to interact with callers and those that describe user-based support are typically the most helpful because they can make decisions on platforms easier. Nuance and SpeechWorks both have excellent information for consumers and businesses interested in both topics.
Hearing voice demos will probably be the most important deciding factor in your IVR purchase. You certainly don’t want to overpay for equipment or software that sounds too harsh or jarring to your callers. The easiest place to find voice demos is Technology Marketing Corporation. This is a mega communications news aggregator that typically posts new voice demos if they’re particularly good.
You should always be able to listen to voice demos directly from the vendors you’re researching, though. If they don’t have samples for you to listen to, you should be pretty worried about the quality.
Case studies can be really great IVR resources, provided they detail circumstances that are similar to your own. The best way to find these is by checking the vendor’s website. Alternatively, you can great a custom alert at Google to receive news stories containing the terms “IVR case studies”. Another method is by searching scholarly journals. PubMed and J-Stor are two of the more popular sites.
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