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Evaluating the Benefits of VoiceXML for eBusiness

  • September 28, 2002
  • By Jonathan Eisenzopf
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Is your telephone system or call center integrated with your eBusiness platform? Why not? This article will outline the potential business benefits of integrating your eBusiness infrastructure with your telephone sales and customer support channels.

Welcome to the VoiceXML Strategy Series

We've talked a lot about HOW to develop VoiceXML solutions with our VoiceXML Developer Series. We've also started looking at the products that are used to develop VoiceXML applications; in fact Hitesh Seth will be focusing on products almost exclusively with his Product Focus column. So while I feel that we've done a decent job of covering the technology side of VoiceXML, what has been lacking is coverage on the business aspects of VoiceXML. That's why VoiceXML Planet is adding a third column that will focus on the business strategy and management issues related to selecting and deploying VoiceXML solutions.

First, I need your help to make this series successful. Besides recommendations and requests for topics and issues that you would like VoiceXML Planet to cover, I am looking for case studies from vendors and customers who are using VoiceXML successfully to enhance business capabilities and reduce costs. If you're a vendor or professional services group, here's your chance to highlight your customer and solution. Business segments that I'm particularly interested in are:

  • eBusiness
  • Customer Support
  • Transportation
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Medical
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Government

Secondly, I'd like to form a panel consisting of vendors, industry experts, and business managers who will provide feedback on topics and content that will be developed for this series. Besides being able to provide critical feedback, you will receive all news and research information on a regular basis, which may or may not be published on the site. I'm going to keep this panel relatively small, so if you're interested in joining, please send your title, company name, and a description of your interest or involvement in VoiceXML to eisen@ferrumgroup.com.

Overview

What makes VoiceXML especially valuable to an eBusiness strategy is that it was specifically created to work with Web applications. This means that an automated telephone sales and support system can leverage your existing eBusiness infrastructure with minimal changes compared with a traditional interactive voice response (IVR) system. Now that Voice ASPs like Tellme, BeVocal, and Voxeo have reduced the initial and ongoing costs of deployment to a per-minute fee, most businesses can now afford to explore the potential uses of a cutting-edge IVR solution.

In this article, the first of this new VoiceXML Strategy series, we will look at four business benefits that a VoiceXML solution will provide to your eBusiness.

Why You Should Extend your eBusiness Back to the Telephone

Though the Web is a tremendous business tool, if your eBusiness investment doesn't extend to the telephone, then you've forgotten about customers who don't have access to the Web all the time or at all. Nearly every citizen in the country has a telephone in their place of business and at home. Why should you reserve new technology for the Web? 

For example, running Web promotions is great. You can crank orders through the system without lifting a finger. But what if a customer is in their car and they hear the promotion on the radio. It's doubtful that they'll pull over just so they can log into their computer to buy your product, but they might call and place an order on their cell phone. Why not use the same source code and automation capabilities for the phone as you have on the Web?

VoiceXML applications can be developed with the same tools and deployed to the same servers, and managed by the same people as your Web applications. Even though your business is moving to the Web, don't forget about the telephone as a customer support and sales vehicle. That's probably where your business started and where at least some of your business will remain for many years to come.owle2Fp>



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