Outbound IVR Services to Increase Nearly 250%

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<p><strong>London &mdash; Aug. 14</strong><br />A new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor reveals the North American market for hosted outbound integrated voice response (IVR) services is set to more than double from an estimated $213 million in 2008 to $524 million by 2013. <br /><br />Outbound IVR is the next-generation contact-center technology used for automated, phone-based outbound communications. The report, &ldquo;Hosted Speech and Outbound IVR Services,&rdquo; explains that the global market is shifting toward a more personalized, directed method of enterprise communication with customers. At the same time, enterprises are looking for ways to maintain an increased level of communication with customers while controlling costs.<br /> <br />Outbound IVR originates and executes outbound calls with customers. Today, outbound IVR is used primarily for proactive communications, allowing enterprises to reach out to customers through outbound-call campaigns that use a combination of prerecorded messages or text-to-speech (TTS) and interactive DTMF (dual tone multiple-frequency, e.g., touch-tone) and/or speech recognition applications. </p><p>Speech recognition and DTMF are used as the primary interfaces and can verify customer details, complete transactions and help route calls to a live customer-service agent. <br /> <br /><strong>Outbound IVR Market in Early Stage</strong><br />According to Datamonitor, spending on hosted outbound IVR services in North America will increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 20 percent during the next five years as more firms leverage outbound communications to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. <br /><br />Some of the early adopters for outbound IVR services include financial services organizations &mdash; for debt collections and billing, and travel and tourism companies &mdash; to provide information about flights and gain a competitive advantage. </p><p>Outbound IVR is also being deployed in the health care industry to send prescription refill, medication dose or appointment reminders to patients. Proactive communications help to reduce administrative costs as the number of missed appointments is lowered.<br /> <br />&ldquo;In the future, as adoption of the technology increases, outbound IVR will be commonly used with SMS, MMS, e-mails and direct mail for proactive customer communications,&rdquo; said Aphrodite Brinsmead, analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report. <br /><br />&ldquo;Unlike these other technologies, outbound IVR provides a greater level of sophistication for verification and notification, where the caller&rsquo;s identify can be verified and receipt of notification can be recorded.&rdquo; <br /> <br /><strong>Outbound IVR Facilitates Proactive Calls</strong><br />Customers are becoming more mobile and more demanding about the level of customer service they receive. Outbound services can be used to help reduce pressure on customer service agents and provide a service that would not be economically viable otherwise. <br /><br />An example of this is when alerting customers of flight delays that are time-sensitive and require many calls to be made in a short time period. Transactions can be carried out entirely via an IVR system which reduces the need for customer service personnel; this could include checking a bank balance, flight details or paying a bill. </p><p>The call is routed back to a customer-service agent only when the customer needs further assistance, therefore enabling agents to spend time speaking with customers that need their help with complex inquiries.<br /> <br /><strong>Future Will Incorporate Multi-Channel Strategy</strong><br />Although outbound speech applications are being developed and deployed today, the majority of deployments in outbound use simple DTMF applications such as identity confirmation, prescription reminders and overdraft notifications. However, the number of outbound speech applications is set to grow through 2013 as enterprises demand greater sophistication and intuitive design from their outbound IVR solution.<br /> <br />As the outbound IVR market grows and solutions mature, a greater number of enterprises will begin to use the technology to proactively reach out to customers. Vendors are beginning to offer outbound IVR alongside inbound IVR solutions and the market is changing to include e-mail and SMS as part of multi-channel customer service solutions. Using this approach, communications can be made according to their time dependency and customer preferences.<br /> <br />Brinsmead concludes, &ldquo;Outbound IVR is in its early stages, but there is strong uptake. Looking forward it will remain a high-growth market for years to come as enterprises look to increase levels of communication with their customers.&rdquo;<br /></p>

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