Single-vendor architectures can be an appealing prospect, and if you already have access to IVR tools, it can be very tempting to use them. But when it comes to creating a new IVR that delivers exceptional experiences, the application has to come first.
The key to developing a great IVR experience is to focus on the IVR application itself rather than the platform behind it. It’s the part the caller interacts with, the part that helps them do what they want to do, and the part that delivers the business outcomes you want. So it makes sense to focus on making the application as good as it can possibly be.
It sounds straightforward, and it is, but all too often we hear the same thing from businesses – “I’ve spent all this money on great technology, but my customer experiences are still no good”. While your platform may have been a good investment for your business, it doesn’t automatically mean that the IVR applications deployed on it, or created using its integrated tools, will be.
More often than not it’s caused by the exact same issue – vendor lock-in and platform bias. This leads to using sub-par IVR tools that offer little more than a basic call flow editor (something we already know to be a problem from principle #2 [link to blog post]). Blinded by an attachment to a single-vendor environment, companies end up with an IVR that doesn’t actually get them any closer to delivering the kinds of exceptional experiences their customers desire.
The worst part is that there really is no reason for companies to act that way. Because most voice platforms are built on VXML, the IVR application you really want can probably be deployed on your platform of choice anyway. It actually can be possible to have your cake and eat it.
How it should be done
When it comes to IVR, we’d encourage you to focus on the app itself as your #1 priority, and that means picking tools that can help you create the kind of all you really want. In other words, just because your platform has an IVR call-flow editor, it doesn’t automatically mean you should use it.
Instead, focus on developing a great IVR app with a great user experience, and integrating it into your platform. If you’re developing in an open-standards language like Java, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge (and you can always call on external help if needed…).
Preparing for the future
It’s also important to consider that the platform you use today may not always be with you. As organisations move more apps into the cloud, it makes sense to develop your IVR using technologies that can easily be ported to a new platform, whether it’s hosted on your premises or in the cloud.
This is just another reason why it pays to think about your app upfront and to build it to be as easily portable as possible. Your platform years from now may be very different from what it is today, but if you develop the right app, in the right way, using the right language, it can continue to grow and scale alongside your company – moving between on-premise and cloud platforms with relative ease.
The app is what dictates the customer experience, so focus on getting the app right. Put the ground work in today to build an app that delivers the results you really want to see, consider the platform that it’s going to be deployed on, and make sure you can move it easily to a new platform or hosting environment in future.