key technologies such as voice
recognition (VR), interactive voice response (IVR), call routing,
customer information management, middleware connectivity, and
workforce management have become more powerful and less expensive.
Companies that invest in these technologies are seeing their
operational expenses tumble even as revenues grow.
The next wave of improvements
will probably come from using technology to automate contact with
callers, to help frontline staff resolve calls, and to handle call
volumes more efficiently.
Transactions that cost $2 to $10
when handled by a live agent cost only 2 cents to 20 cents when
automated. A major telecom company recently invested $30 million
in technologies that automatically handle additional transactions
and allow callers to speak their answers instead of pushing
buttons. The new systems are capable of handling 10% more calls,
and executives anticipate saving upward of $50 million a year.