Could your premises-based IVR handle a sudden, eightfold increase in daily call volumes? It’s not a farfetched scenario. On the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy, one major U.S. airline fielded 400,000 calls, up from 50,000 on a typical Sunday.
That kind of sharp increase isn’t limited to storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters. It also occurs when, for example, a backhoe slices the fiber optic cable that’s an ISP’s backbone for several markets, or when a bad software update crashes a mobile operator’s switches for an entire region.
Whatever the cause, the last thing your customers want to hear is a busy signal or to sit on hold waiting for an update. That’s a sure-fire way to increase churn. If you can’t provide answers fast-especially during a major event that impacts your customers, there’s a good chance that at least some of those customers will find an alternate source for the product or service you’re providing.
A hosted IVR enables enterprises, government agencies and other organizations to gracefully accommodate sudden increases in inbound calls, even when that increase lasts for days or even weeks. Nuance OnDemand, for example, handles 7.5 billion conversational interactions every year. That’s more than 20 million every day. And, with geographic redundancy and Nuance’s capacity planning strategy, the platform can actually handle 180 percent of that planned capacity.
Only a hosted IVR can provide that kind of scalability during a disaster, outage or even a forecasted event like a major sales promotion-and do it cost-effectively.
The only way that a premise-based IVR could guarantee the same grace under pressure is if it were drastically overbuilt, meaning all of that expensive extra capacity would lie fallow most of the time-consuming power, operational resources, and incurring cost for the excess telephony and data connectivity. To the tune of millions of additional dollars each year.
Just as important, hosted IVRs are designed specifically to avoid falling victim to disasters. For example, they typically use three or more geographically distributed facilities, each of which has enough capacity to shoulder the load if one of the other sites completely fails. Leading hosted IVR providers use data centers designed to ensure a minimum of 99.99 percent uptime, employing failsafes such as back-up generators, component redundancy, ample spare equipment on site, dedicated staff and emergency recovery procedures that are regularly tested. Matching that reliability and redundancy with a premises-based IVR costs more than most organizations can afford, and even when they can, it’s not their core competency.
The aforementioned airline understood the business case for a hosted IVR, both during high-volume periods and normal operations. That’s why it chose Nuance OnDemand. As a result, in the days before and after Sandy, it didn’t drop a single call – even though one of the Nuance OnDemand data center was in the storm’s path. In good times and bad, that’s the kind of reliability and scalability you can bet your business on.