ivr service
      Database Systems Corp. BBB Business Review
   IVR AND VOICE BROADCASTING SERVICES AND SYSTEMS Home  |   Contact Us  |   About Us  |   Sign Up  |   FAQ

ivr software applications


IVRS Software & Services
IVR Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Telemarketing Services
IVR Provider
Toll Free Services
Telephone Answering Service
800 Number Services
Voice Messaging Systems
Call Recording Systems
Voice Mail Message
Voice Mail System
Voice Mail Software
Inbound Call Center Services
IVR Hosting
Business Phone Services

ivr software applications

Website Information

IVR Software

IVR systems interactive voice response

IVR Solutions

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Solutions and custom IVR software and products. Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country. The PACER and WIZARD IVR System is just one of many DSC call center phone system features..

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.

Banks Hear Customers Loud and Clear

Maura K. Ammenheuser
August 31, 2004

There's a lot of talk going around the banking industry these days. To improve customer service, banks are increasingly turning to speech-based technology.

For years, banks have relied on call centers to handle consumers' questions. Automated touchtone phone systems have typically been the link between the public and the call center. But several industry experts say the familiar touchtone systems may soon go the way of the rotary phone.

Today, speech-enabled technology - often called IVR, for interactive voice response - has finally improved to the point where banks can use it enterprisewide for an array of functions. "I suspect over the next two to three years this will start to proliferate," says Diane Halliwell, director of contact center solutions for Align Communications, a global IT firm headquartered in New York. "Done right, these things can really enhance your business."

Many banks already use speech technology for call steering, says Peter Ryan, an analyst with London-based business information firm Datamonitor. A voice-enabled automated call system determines customers' needs through voice prompts and quickly routes calls to the appropriate personnel.

A good system lets callers skip many of the prompts they typically encounter with a touchtone system before getting to the point where they need to be, Halliwell notes. A voice-based solution helps callers complete their business faster, which in turn increases customer satisfaction, she says.

Soon, Datamonitor's Ryan predicts, banks also will begin relying on speech technology for more than call steering, allowing customers to access accounts, transfer funds, pay bills and more. "Whatever a customer can do on the Web, they should be able to do on the phone," he asserts. Additionally, Ryan continues, "Using biometric voice prints as a security means for accessing accounts ... is also a strong possibility," though he stresses that the technology must gain a proven track record before banks will rely upon it for identification purposes.

Benefits Speak Volumes

While its potential in other areas remains largely untapped, the No. 1 benefit speech technology offers banks today is improved customer service. "Speech technology offers financial institutions the ability to provide customers with greater interaction and ease of use," Ryan says. For example, speech systems don't require people to spell names on the touchtone pad. "Callers can interact directly with the interface in their own vocabulary and at their own pace. This increases customer satisfaction and long-term customer loyalty," he says.

Voice-based technology also means cost savings for the bank, according to Align's Halliwell. The automation frees bank employees from routine matters and, by shortening calls, saves money on 800-number lines, she says.

But, voice-prompted banking was slow to gain momentum, Halliwell points out, because for many years it was poorly applied, prone to inaccuracies and easily confused - by background noise, for example. "We still have issues with noise, issues with dialect and issues with [customer] comfort," Halliwell admits, but she adds that the technology has vastly improved.

Until relatively recently, speech-enabled solutions weren't mature enough to handle banks' requirements, and the interfaces between customers and banks were poorly designed, according to Nathan David, product management director for the contact center group at San Jose, Calif.-based Empirix. For example, an early-generation system might ask a caller, "What would you like to do?" That was too open-ended, with too many potential answers, David explains. Today's systems limit potential answers by asking more specific questions, such as, "Do you want retail banking or the brokerage?"

Other recent improvements include increased computing speeds, complex algorithms used for improved speech recognition and more. "The technology is rapidly advancing to the point where, soon enough, the interfaces will be able to keep pace with humans and omit things such as coughs and sneezes," Datamonitor's Ryan says.

Current technology keeps behavior in mind, too, not just literal speech, Empirix's David adds. For example, if a caller wants the second of four listed options, he'll likely interrupt the menu after the second item. Even if the system doesn't recognize exactly what the caller says, it can assume the person wants the second item, because that's when he spoke.

How Can I Help You?

Successful implementation of voice-enabled technology solutions requires scalable products, preferably ones "programmed in an open-standards environment to leverage existing Web offerings," Datamonitor's Ryan suggests. But the most important factor to a successful implementation, however, has less to do with the technology than with a bank's goals. Understanding the purpose of an interactive voice response solution is critical.

Why are customers calling? What do they need? How can a voice-enabled automated phone system be designed to perform necessary tasks efficiently enough to prevent the customer from abandoning the call out of frustration? Banks and vendors must build systems with these questions in mind.

If they're wise, "They're not going to implement a technology just because it's cool," says Align's Halliwell, a warning both Ryan and Empirix's David echo. "The key to this is setting it up from the customers' point of view," Halliwell adds.

"Customers just want to get things done," David remarks. Half of them actually prefer a fast, automated service to human interaction, he claims. Testing users' acceptance of the technology and constantly monitoring a live system are the last, essential steps to ensuring successful deployment, David continues.

As banks gain confidence in speech technology, so does the public, Datamonitor's Ryan notes. "Customers are becoming more comfortable with bank voice deployments, and it is a result of things like Internet banking. Customers prefer using ever-improving voice systems that reduce wait times and mirror online offerings," he says. "This should be the goal of any voice system."

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.