IVR hosting is type of interactive voice response(IVR) service that allows business to take advantage of call automation without having to invest in specialized equipment or hardware. IVR hosting companies often develop their own IVR technology and “host” or provide technology that is stored on their own equipment and or web servers. The actual service provided by a hosted IVR can vary greatly and largely depends on the unique need of the client.
Aside from the lack of equipment needed, there are several other key aspects that differentiate IVR hosting from conventional IVR service including: the level of programming required, initial upfront expenses, guaranteed uptime, and available technical support.
An IVR (Interactive
Voice Response), also called an Automated Attendant or Call Forwarding Menu,
provides businesses with a convenient way to direct incoming calls to the
correct person or department. Unfortunately for many callers, an IVR can
all-too-often be a source of stress and frustration. We’ve probably all
suffered through IVRs that have menu choices that seem to go on forever. Worse
still is when you choose the wrong option and the IVR hangs up on you! To get
around this, callers often select the option for sales (regardless of the
reason for their call) in the belief it will move them to the top of the queue
and get their call answered faster.
Hosted IVRs are different from traditional IVRs in the following ways:
Programmed vs. Managed IVRs
Programming is often a very intensive component of any IVR. This is because conventional IVRs rely on every single hypothetical customer scenario being programmed and scripted with an appropriate list of responses. Some sophisticated providers use smart IVRs which are based on artificial intelligence to replace this antiquated model of call automation. This feature can greatly minimize programming because applications can be designed by the provider and implemented remotely for you.
IVR Hosting Fees
Upfront expenses can be cut dramatically with IVR hosting. Not only is the need for expensive equipment taken out of the picture, but the cost of technology is spread out evenly among multiple customers. This service is set up in such a way that every business helps fund research and development for a single super-IVR. In this way, everyone has access to the latest and greatest technological advances, but only pays a fraction of the cost.
Guaranteed vs. Limited Uptime
Uptime is a very important consideration when choosing an IVR that will be your customer’s first line of contact with your business. In the IVR industry, just as in web hosting, uptime describes the reliability of your service. While many providers aim to minimize downtime due to power failures and system crashes, these interruptions can end up costing you tons of money in the form of lost sales and will undoubtedly irritate your customers. With IVR hosting, multiple servers and equipment can be used to provide a level of redundancy that’s just not possible with conventional IVRs.