Browse Prior Art Database

Rewarding IVR Retention

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200603D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 88K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

When customers call a service provides call center, they prefer talking to a real person rather than a machine. With an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, the caller wades through numerous menus to get the information or exercise the transaction they are calling about. There is little benefit for the caller to remain in the IVR to process their request. So how does a vendor reduce their costs by getting the caller to have their requests serviced by the IVR? Some IVRs don't provide the caller an option to transfer to an agent until they have listened to the menu of choices twice or they don't provide the option until after authentication. Another option is to make the wait time to tfalk an agent so long, that the caller uses the IVR. The solution is to provide incentives to the callers for using a self service IVR application, and those incentives must be chosen by an intelligent mechanism that will attemp to offer the user something they are interested in, based on a series of variables.

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Rewarding IVR Retention

Disclosed is a process for providing incentives to callers for using a self-service interactive voice recognition (IVR) application. The disclosed process provides a capability of an intelligent mechanism that offers a user something of interest, based on a set of variables.

Usually customers prefer speaking with a real person rather than a machine. With an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, the caller wades through numerous menus to obtain information or exercise a transaction. There is little benefit for the caller to remain in the IVR to process their request. Knowing that people generally dislike using an IVR, blogs and web sites have been created to provide customers a method of bypassing the IVR to reach an agent of a vendor for assistance.

The cost of an agent is many times more expensive than processing the same request in the IVR. How does a vendor reduce costs by having a caller service requests by the IVR? Today, most IVR applications do not allow a caller to quickly transfer to an agent. Some applications do not provide the caller an option to transfer to an agent until the customer listens to a menu of choices twice or do not provide an option until after authentication. Another technique ensures a wait time to talk to an agent is so long, the caller uses the IVR.

The disclosed process provides a capability to provide incentives to callers for using a self-service IVR application, in which incentives are selected by an intelligent mechanism attempting to offer a caller something of interest, based on a series of variables. Customers benefit from an IVR using the disclosed

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 rocess to handle requests by receiving discounts, upgrades, gifts, and so on. Intelligence is added to the IVR using the disclosed process to present users with personalized rewards, ensuring the caller receives something of interested thus motivating the caller to use the IVR more often. Knowing what to offer to a customer is not difficult, because user profile databases are widely available providing information to retrieve and combine to determine an offering.

For example, when the caller is a frequent flyer the caller may not be interested in earning more miles, but would be interested in getting free meals or drinks at a destination. In another example, when the caller only speaks Spanish and no Spanish-speaking agent is available, the caller is offered use of an IVR in Spanish to perform the request, rather than calling back another time. Determining whether a customer is calling to purchase something or to cancel or complain about a service or product must also be considered.

Use of the disclosed process represents financial opportunities for a company, as shown in Figure 1 representing a USD 0.5M of annual savings for a USD 5M size company.

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Figure 1

An incentive for each company differs. For example, additional miles (airlines), upgrades (rental cars), d...