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Joe Marnes

Looks like an IVR industry company (Angel.com) is taking an aggressive stance against Paul English's list - they issued a press release on the topic today.


Angel.com Responds to Paul English with IVR Cheat Sheet for Businesses

Cheat Sheet Identifies Ten Best Practices to Help Companies Serve Customers Via IVR

McLean, Va. – November 30, 2005 – Angel.com, a leading provider of on-demand call center and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions and a division of MicroStrategy® Incorporated (NASDAQ: MSTR), today released its IVR Cheat Sheet for Businesses, a listing of quick tips businesses can use to make their IVR systems more user-friendly and efficient. The Cheat Sheet was developed in response to Paul English’s recent listing of major U.S. companies who, according to English, design their IVR systems poorly and make it difficult for callers to speak with a live agent.

“I applaud Mr. English’s efforts because he obviously is acting with the consumer’s best interests in mind, but it is equally important to note that IVR, if used correctly, can often help callers resolve issues faster and more accurately than a live agent,” said Michael Zirngibl, President and CEO of Angel.com. “Our new IVR Cheat Sheet for Businesses provides tips for developing IVR systems which will create positive caller experiences and improve business productivity.”

Below is a summary of the tips contained in the Cheat Sheet:

1. Let callers know what to expect from the system immediately. This is a simple rule that applies to any customer experience – present a pleasant greeting and explain succinctly what the system can and will do for the caller.

2. Do not hide the option for callers to speak with a live agent. No matter how useful your IVR system is for customers, there will always be a segment of customers who prefer to speak to a live agent to resolve their issue.

3. Whenever possible, give the caller an approximate time for the completion of the request. If transferring to a live agent, let the caller know the expected hold time and provide options to go back into the IVR system.

4. Do not make callers repeat information collected in the IVR to the live agent they are transferred to. If you want callers to believe that the IVR can help them resolve a problem, respect the time they put into the IVR and don’t ask for the same answers twice.

5. Provide callers with an option to navigate the system using touch-tone (keypad) or speech recognition. Let callers choose the most effective option based on their general preferences, location or understanding of the system.

6. Personalize the IVR for each caller by integrating with your customer databases and CRM systems. If callers know that the system recognizes their identity, they will be far more likely to stay in the IVR.

7. Identify and communicate a few universal commands that are recognized at any time during the call. Examples include “beginning” to go back to the start of the dialogue and “help” to get detailed information on the current request for input.
8. Keep the interface simple – use closed, short prompts, limit the number of menu choices and request simple, one-word responses. Callers will only use the IVR system if they perceive that it is easy to use and useful in resolving their issue or information request.

9. Always let the caller know what is happening. Keep in mind that the IVR dialogue should be similar to a conversation between two human beings. The system should explain pauses with messages such as “Thanks for the information, let me look up your account” or “I am trying to find the most appropriate person to handle your request.”

10. Provide courteous, smooth error-handling. Generic error messages that are not tailored to the caller’s specific situation will drive callers away from the IVR. The system should always take the blame for errors.

The full version of the IVR Cheat Sheet for Businesses is available at www.angel.com/ivrcheatsheet/

About Angel.com
Angel.com is a leading provider of on-demand call center and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions, which enable organizations of all sizes to quickly deploy powerful telephony applications. More than 1,500 customers turn to Angel.com's patented Voice Site technology to power customer service and marketing phone numbers using intelligent speech recognition that can automate most phone-based interactions. With an innovative Internet-based solution that requires no investment in hardware, software, or human resources, Angel.com balances the need for high quality communications with affordable pay-as-you-go pricing.

About MicroStrategy
Founded in 1989, MicroStrategy is a global leader in business intelligence (BI) technology. MicroStrategy provides integrated reporting, analysis, and monitoring software that helps leading organizations worldwide make better business decisions every day. Companies choose MicroStrategy for its advanced technical capabilities, sophisticated analytics, and superior data and user scalability. More information about MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) is available at www.microstrategy.com.

MicroStrategy and Angel.com are trademarks or registered trademarks of MicroStrategy Incorporated in the United States and certain other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Media Contact:
Mike Sweeney
(703) 770-1352

Marketing Team

It was very pleasing that now companies are taking so much interest on IVR technology.

Carrie T

I know this blog is really old but I have been trying to do some research on customer service and wanted to comment on this. I find it interesting that in 2005 they were looking at some issues that are still problems today. I have found that big companies like Target use phone services in India and I have had several times where the connection is bad or I couldn't understand the person on the other end. It is so frustrating!! I found a company called Mindshare that has a fresh new look on customer service and technology. I am excited to give it a try.

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