Technological advances are fantastic for consumers who love to keep up to date with trends in smartphones, laptops, game consoles and so on, but for businesses, advances in technology can make the difference between them expanding their horizons with an increase in profits and the improvement of the customer experience, and failing to meet expectations and targets and suffering as a result.
The use of Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology has been growing significantly throughout the world of business in the last few years, and has become increasing popular in technology. For example, IVR has been used for satellite navigation systems and smartphones recently, and telephone banking has become more customer-friendly since IVR has enabled customers to be authenticated and identified by the voice system taking details such as date of birth and address details before sending them through to the call centres.
In call centres with extremely high call volumes, IVR is the perfect solution. If your call centre has a number of different services, it can sometimes be a time wasting issue if your call team have to keep forwarding calls and redirecting calls to the correct section. With IVR, the system becomes the middleman, ensuring that every call goes to the correct location within the business, enabling for higher productivity from each department as a result of being able to focus purely on their ownInteractive voice response individual departmental customers and tasks.
For some queries, IVR could cut out the need for human contact at all. If the customer needs a certain query answering, the voice response technology could direct them to a pre-recorded answer to the query, cutting out the need to wait in line to talk to call centre staff, and to get the answer to their question as quickly as possible. When it comes to improving customer service, IVR can be hugely beneficial to your business.
Here are a few of the most popular uses for IVR in business:
- Mobile – Topping up Pay-As-You-Go phone accounts, registering and purchasing mobile phones including mobile phone products including ringtones, cases, games and logos
- Banking – Account enquiries including making payments, registering cards, balance enquiries
- Retail – Including making orders, bookings, credit card payments, issuing refunds, etc.
- Utilities – Including meter readings, account balance, history of account, payments
- Travel – Weather, ticket bookings, flight information, train enquiries, etc.
As most businesses will know, running a contact centre is an expensive task, but with IVR technology, calls don’t have to be wasted on dealing with simple enquiries, and call centre staff and get back to making sales and upselling products and services in order to make up for having to deal with the enquiries they shouldn’t have had to be dealing with in the first place. Reducing the average cost per call handled is a priority of all call centre businesses, and IVR allows for this to become a reality.
Applying IVR enables your business to develop and deploy new call services faster and cut operational costs, which in turn improves the job satisfaction of your call centre staff, who would much rather be dealing with customers who want to purchase goods and services rather than deal with small issues that could be dealt with by voice recognition technology. IVR allows management to customise the system to suit their needs and monitor call process from a desktop. Maintenance is also possible from a laptop, including debugging services as and when they go wrong. Having flexibility in your systems is a luxury in business, and is one of the biggest advantages of operating interactive voice response technology as an integral part of the operation of your business.
About the Author
Katie Matthews is a Marketing Executive at C3 a specialist in multimedia platforms for mass call handling and interactive messaging services in the UK. Katie writes about topics covering technical applications, managed hosting and communications systems for business.
Ecommerce Website User Expectations
Wikipedia defines user expectations as the consistency that users expect from products. In terms of ecommerce website design, user expectations are very important because users are known to form expectations based on their experience with similar kinds of websites. In this regard it would make the most sense to design an ecommerce website that was consistent with the prevailing norms that were indicated by research into user behavior. In other words, if your users are used to doing something one way, you should base the experience of your site to mimic that which they are already familiar to give them a sense of comfort and familiarization.
There are many expectations that users may have that can be examined. One of the most prevailing expectations of any website is load speed. In fact, people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds. Fast load times should therefore be the goal of every website. But what are the user expectations of ecommerce websites specifically?
User Expectation Study for Ecommerce Websites
Below we will examine where users expect certain elements of an ecommerce website to be located based on a study done by students at Wichita State University. These aspects include where users expect the following elements:
Back to homepage links
In the below illustrations, we can see how users interpreted where they believed certain elements of an ecommerce website should be located. The participants were presented with a depiction of a browser window that contained a 7x6 grid of squares. Participants were asked to move tiles that represented each of the corresponding elements (mentioned above) where they expected them to be located on a typical ecommerce web page.
The darker the shade of blue, the greater percentage a particular square was selected.
Figure 1 Above - Back to Homepage Link
Figure 2 Above - Advertising Banners
Figure 3 Above - Internal Links
Figure 4 Above - External Links
Figure 5 Above - Shopping Cart
Figure 6 Above - Help Link
Ecommerce User Expectation Findings
As witnessed from the above illustrations that examined user expectations regarding the placement of common ecommerce web elements we see that there are relatively common expectations as to where these elements should be placed. The consistency in which participants selected the various locations for the six above-mentioned elements underscores the importance of ecommerce website design for user expectations. User expectations are an aspect of internet marketing that also is related to conversion rate optimization. Taking the guesswork out of navigating websites results in more time spent on websites, a decreased bounce-rate, and can ultimately result in more conversions (sales).
Based on the above illustrations, we can infer that ecommerce website users expect the following:
Back to homepage links be located in the top left
Advertisement banners be located at the top of the page
Internal links be located on the left sidebar
External links be located at the right and left sides of the page
Shopping carts be located at the top right of the page
Help links be located at the top right of the page
In addition to the above expectations we can also see that the user expectations are similar for users in the four geographic regions that were used in the study – North America, Europe, India and Commonwealth. Perhaps the most indicative aspect of the study is that the participants also revealed that their expectations for the locations of the ecommerce elements were the same as where they would prefer the objects to be located. It is not surprising to see a correlation between expectation and preference as designated in this study.
About the Author
Daniel E. Lofaso is a SEO Consultant and search engine marketer for Digital Elevator. He frequently covers topics on SEO, internet marketing and conversion rate optimization.