IVR applications are usually an integral part of any contact center implementation. An IVR application is typically what a customer first encounters in his/her quest for service. But how do IVR applications come to fruition?
Most of the time the company hires a technology vendor to go through the design, develop, deploy cycle. Analysts and consultants meet with the company’s business team to hash out the requirements. Menus, prompts, database access, transfer points, etc. are defined. The vendor then engages solution architects and engineers to design and develop the IVR app. Of course, throughout the development cycle there will be testing and revisions.
But once the IVR app is deployed, is it what the customers want? It’s probably what the business wants and what the business thinks the customers want. Sometimes the business will go over reports and do an assessment of the IVR’s utilization and usage. If there’s also a quality monitoring solution, maybe even listen to call recordings and apply analytics. These tasks can provide some insight into whether the IVR is matching the customer’s expectations. Based on these findings the IVR can be tweaked to better serve the customer.
Knowing that the IVR ought to be customer centric, is there value to have the customer design the IVR? Crowdsourcing has been making waves lately, from Facebook’s multi-language support to DARPA funded projects. Proponents of crowdsourcing tout it as a way to gather diverse and creative ideas collectively, as well as an effective approach to peer review.
Yet in most IVR projects there are hardly any input from customers let alone crowdsourcing it to customers. Laying out IVR menus and prompts really isn’t rocket science even though there’s a fancy acronym for it: VUI (Voice User Interface). The goal is to make the IVR as customer friendly as possible. So why not let the customer decide on what is “friendly”?
I believe that in an IVR implementation, customer input can be very valuable early on in the design phase. As much as the company understands the intricacies of its business and the potential for self service, a customer committee may be a good partner in helping an IVR become a truly customer centric IVR.