Hosted IVR is finally gaining momentum. Upwards of 50% of new IVR implementations this year will be hosted.  Even though it’s new to many, a large number of leading enterprises actually adopted hosted IVR several years back.  The attraction at that time was operational savings, OpEx pricing model, business agility, and scalability.  Those are important hosting values that hold true today.  But, the early adopters are just now beginning to truly understand the power of hosting.  As they do, they are identifying the features and services that that are most valuable and using those to seek out their next-gen provider.  That means firing their current hosting vendor, fine-tuning their requirements and focusing on selecting a vendor that provides even greater strategic and financial value. Fifty-percent of Nuance On Demand customers have selected Nuance after firing their hosting vendor and perfecting their requirements. Check out the top three reasons they’ve abandoned their past provider in favor of Nuance On Demand:

  1. Their previous provider wasn’t adequately investing in its platform, forcing them to make do with outdated reporting, security, architecture, and technologies that put their business at a competitive disadvantage.  One of the primary values of hosted IVR is providing access to technologies- yet some vendors are skimping on their investments. Beware.  It’s easy to do once they have you locked into a multi-year platform.  If you’re shopping, consider vendors that have an established history of new and meaningful investment, that have the financial standing to continuously invest, and that have the motivations to invest.
  2. Their applications grew stale and less effective over time as their provider focused primarily on the job of operating a commodity platform rather than proactively providing tools and domain expertise that could help them keep up with changing consumer expectations.  It’s critical that IVR apps continuously evolve as your business and consumer preferences change.  Not only should a hosting platform be robust and built for continuous improvement, but so too should the business relationship.  Look for hosting vendors that are motivated to proactively bring ideas for improvement and provide tools that provide caller insight so that your applications can evolve.
  3. There wasn’t a shared vision for the future beyond just IVR because their provider wasn’t focused on evolving self-service.  They weren’t identifying ways to help to differentiate these companies to differentiate their brand, or helping them to leverage their self-service IVR investments across the Web or within their mobile apps.  Different than purchasing software, a hosted IVR vendor must act as a partner – understanding market dynamics and drivers for each customer.  Those then need to be incorporated into the service evolution so that the value of the relationship extends far beyond operational savings.

If you’re shopping for a hosting provider – expect and require more than the traditional hosting benefits.  And, if your current hosting provider isn’t bringing you new ideas or helping to solidify your strategy, maybe a pink slip is in order?!

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About Andrea Mocherman

This was a contributed post by Andrea Mocherman. To see more content like this, visit the Customer experience section of our blog.