How Much Does a Cloud Interactive Voice Response System Cost?
Features and Uses of a Cloud IVR
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems feature incredibly advanced technologies to recognize natural speech patterns and filter out background noises for ease of use.
Of course, all of this technology requires a level of expertise for the organization choosing to provide this system in-house. That means highly trained staff and other overhead costs inherent in hosting the system.
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Cloud technology offers cost-effective, viable IVR solutions for organizations' evolving needs. For example, when companies merge, integrating features of different IVR systems presents a challenge. Moving instead to a cloud-based system maintains exemplary customer service standards while lowering costs.
What are Common Features in an IVR System?
Common interactive voice response system features include:
- Detailed call logs
- Database integration
- Call screening and switching options
- Automatic number identification and dialed number identification
- Text to speech
- Speech recognition
- Multi-line support
- Direct transfer to departments or personnel
There are many more features, which is one of the reasons estimating costs is challenging.
What Should You Consider when Choosing an IVR System?
Pricing varies widely due to the many variables in features. The following questions help you choose the right system for your needs:
- Does it integrate with other applications? Integration with applications like your CRM system accomplishes three things: optimizes your IVR system, minimizes costs, and improves customer service.
- Is it easy for your customers to navigate? A user-friendly system means happy customers. This requires clear instructions and a layered menu for more detailed interactions.
- Does it support modification? As your organization grows and evolves, you want your IVR system to adapt to your organization's changing needs.
- What customer interactions does it include? You want it to go beyond simple call routing. More advance IVR features leads to less hold time for your customers, which makes the job of your agents much easier.
How Much Does Cloud IVR Cost?
The cost of a cloud IVR includes three separate fees: IVR usage, telco, and professional services.
IVR Usage Fees
These are the fees inherent in your cloud system, including using the application, the cloud infrastructure, the IVR platform, maintenance, and compliance. Estimating this fee depends on your location, call volume commitment, and contract length. It's a broad range, between one and 10 cents per minute. Of course, you need to look at more than the per-minute rate when choosing a system. Look for extra fees, such as charges for speech recognition and analytics, and include them in your cost analyses.Review features such as how often the system upgrades, compliance levels, security, and available analytics.
Finally, look at uptime and downtime to understand how the vendor calculates each one, and whether the vendor continues charging for downtime due to maintenance.
These are the fees incurred through your telecom provider, including costs to transport calls, VoIP, toll free numbers, and associated surcharges and taxes. The first thing to look at is whether your organization is the client of record (COR) or not (NCOR). Many organizations opt to be the COR in order to take advantage of reduced telecom rates. Others prefer to go the NCOR route, to take advantage of their IVR vendor's rate, which is often far lower. Either option allows you to keep your current phone numbers.
Make sure to review all fees, such as transfer charges, i.e. Take Back and Transfer and TransferConnect. Telecom providers also levy a variety of taxes, so verify what your telco quote includes.
Professional Service Fees
These are the fees to actually develop your IVR system, as well as maintenance charges and any changes or enhancements to your system after it goes live. Even if you have a current system you're migrating to a cloud solution, you will incur professional service fees. These fees vary dramatically, based on a variety of indicators. How dramatic is the price difference? The low end is around $3,000 while the high end is literally 100 times that.
Features influencing professional service fees include:
- Call flow size, including the number of menus and branches
- Integration points in the backend
- Speech recognition capabilities
The vendor should provide a detailed estimate of all service fees.
The Bottom Line
This should give you a good idea of the types of fees and charges to request from vendors looking to provide your cloud-based IVR system. Compare the features provided, as well as reliability and the service contract for each vendor.