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Verizon enhances IVR platform

Verizon Business has added IP-enabled speech services to its portfolio to help enterprises offer improved self service to their customers with a minimal investment. The new capability, provided by Nuance Communications, offers Verizon Business customers a hosted IP Interactive Voice Response (IVR) platform either as an alternative or in addition to a traditional IVR platform.

Businesses can use the service to help callers conduct simple self-service inquiries and transactions over the phone without the need to speak with a customer service representative. Verizon's IP IVR service can be combined together with its VoIP Inbound to manage and route inbound calls, supporting both traditional and IP-based contact centers. Verizon offers its Speech Services customers a choice to buy the CPE from Verizon, have Verizon Business host the services, or fully manage the service.

“IP-enabled speech services incorporate three of the top benefits our customers are seeking in a contact center solution: the use of speech technology to enable self-service; a hosted service to reduce equipment costs; and the ability to migrate to an IP-based platform,” said Jim Tyrrell, vice president for global business voice solutions at Verizon, in a statement.

Our observations: while speech recognition services are typically more expensive to implement than a simple touch-tone response menu, they can offer callers a more user-friendly IVR experience. As we noted in our April newsletter when AT&T announced a hosted contact center solution, we believe that hosted, premise-based, and a hybrid of hosted and premise-based options should all be considered — especially when enterprises face the complexity of integrating VoIP or unified communications features within the contact center.

Next time, we'll highlight announcements coming out of the IT Expo conference set to open in Los Angeles on Sept. 1.

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