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It’s Time to Upgrade your IVR


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FEBRUARY 4, 2015

It’s a hard reality that Enterprises are realizing that their IVR systems are nearing end-of-life or that their system is next on the obsolescence. Enterprises have challenges of high annual maintenance charges with poorly supported legacy technology

Today’s customers are engaging with different brands and are already experiencing advancements in IVR with conversational interface, better speech recognition built-in. These busy consumers would not hesitate to shift brands for want of better customer experience.

Weighing up all the alternatives, the ideal path for Enterprises would be Migration of the outdated IVR. But they need to ensure that they will not have to migrate again in few years. VXML is the most popular development standard that enterprises are adopting with fear and excitement.

The traditional IVR systems were constructed within proprietary development environments and tools that locked the customer in. The original design documents are long lost and if exist, they do not reflect the changes made to the IVR over its lifetime. Traditional IVR platforms use a hardware solution (racks, servers, and telephony cards) and software solution (port licenses). Traditional IVR operation requires exceptional technologists with rare skills.

Recreating these legacies IVR from scratch can be a challenge. Conversion tools offer little panacea with their integration to back-end systems. Either be it end-of-life IQTalk, Edify EVIP platform, they can be moved to Voxeo Prophecy, Voice Objects, Convergys Interaction Composer and other VXML based platforms.

With all the advances in technologies, it’s time now to re-evaluate your IVR investment plan. Gone are the days, when IVRs sounded robotic with their menu mazes. The objective of a modern IVR should be natural, conversant and provide easy self-service experience.

Next Generation IVRs should be construed with the following natural language building blocks:

  • Natural Language IVR: allows customers to use natural language and enhances customer’s self-service experience
  • Speech Recognition: helps in recognizing caller response to questions such as account numbers, transaction dates, or order status etc.
  • Personalization: Customizing the IVR specifically for each caller
  • Voice Biometrics: Stored voice prints can help to authenticate customers for enterprises focused on data security

A new refreshing technology platform can pave way for more innovative services, but the cost of re-developing a new system is really enormous. So you will have to decide between staying on an unsupported legacy technology and keep paying high annual support fees or go for a new platform and incur high redevelopment costs with lesser annual maintenance cost and abundant skilled resources.

If you decide the latter, go for a modern IVR utilizing natural language interfaces. And more importantly ensure that you don’t get locked in.