IVR As A Service: What Should You Know Before Making an IVR Vendor Selection-Part I

Making a vendor selection is no easy task, especially if you want to get it right the first time. So the more information you have, the better your chances of success.

The following outline is an introduction to IVR vendor selection from a down-to-earth business perspective. It will help you identify the outsourcing model that is best for your business.

In todays IVR marketplace, IVR service providers deliver their services in different ways; from a complete self service model where you need to do all the legwork to a white glove service model where your projects are planned, developed, and implemented for you. Which one is best for your business will depend on how much energy, effort, and time you can afford to divert from your core business, to your IVR project. The good news is that theres a model out there for almost every business.

Whether your project involves a survey, payment system, sales lead generation, order and fulfillment, credit card transactions, or field employee reporting, there is a vendor model thats right for you.

It is important to understand three key factors which will help you make the right decision. The three (3) main reasons why an organization might decide to outsource its IVR operations versus taking it on in-house are as follows:

(a) Lower Cost (b) Flexible Technology (c) Higher Levels of Expertise

(a) – Cost: An outsourced IVR application can be far less expensive to implement than IVR done in-house. An IVR System will probably take less time to implement if you choose the hosted model and you will typically only pay for what you use or commit to using. Service providers usually adjust to your requirements, rather than you having to plan for growth.

(b) – Flexible Technology: In todays environment of rapidly changing business demands, technology must be flexible enough to adjust quickly and cost effectively. The outsourced IVR approach protects you from having to continuously adapt to these changes, as the responsibility is shifted to the service provider, protecting you from technological obsolescence.

(c) – Higher Levels of Expertise: If you dont have the time and /or resources to keep your IVR application running current and glitch-free, a provider who offers Managed IVR outsourcing is worth looking into. There are various levels of IVR services available ” some provide higher levels of expertise and support than others. Hosted service providers have an expertise that is difficult or almost impossible to maintain in-house, that is, having the experience of deploying 100s, if not 1000s, of applications, and knowing what works, what doesnt work, and what works best.

Which IVR Service model is best for your business? You will probably agree that the best model for any business, regardless of size, industry, budget, or application, is the model that will get the closest to guaranteeing a successful execution. Lets face it, IT projects are seldom completed on time, and most often exceed budget. However it doesnt need to be that way.

You have some decisions to make: Do-it-yourself, or delegate the responsibility to an expert?

* If you feel confident that you have the expertise and resources to plan, develop, maintain, manage, support, and refine an IVR strategy on your own, you may want to look at Self-Service SaaS models.

* If you want to focus on your business and leave the IVR solution to the experts (those who have done it repeatedly – hundreds, if not thousands of times), and want to ensure that your applications are hosted, monitored, maintained, and supported to ensure the best performance, then you want to look at a Full Service Managed SaaS model.

The model you choose depends on the level of expertise and support you would like to shift to your IVR service provider.

To make an IVR service provider selection , read this free report on IVR and IVR Survey vendor evaluation .