• February 7, 2014
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Jacada and Vocantas Bring Visual IVR to Schools

Jacada has again teamed with Vocantas to expand the use of its visual IVR technology. This time, Vocantas is adding Jacada's visual IVR to its Scaller student outreach solution for colleges and universities.

Scaller is an outbound student surveying IVR that lets colleges and universities reach out to students with a series of interactive questions that could reveal areas where they might be struggling. Based on this information, the college or university can follow up individually with students and direct them to existing support services that address their needs.

Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, schools can now design and deploy surveys and send them to students via their mobile phones.

"Students today use their smartphones for just about everything," says Guy Yair, co-CEO of Jacada. "It makes sense for schools to enable students to also visually interact with them using their smartphones.

"This specific solution is designed to help schools better retain their students," Yair says. That's an important goal for schools now, which are increasingly seeing their government funds predicated on the number of students they keep through to graduation. Up until a few years ago, state aid was simply based on the number of students a school had.

"Today it's all about retention and creating a better experience for the students," Yair says.

Yair also says visual IVR is a great way for universities to stand out in terms of servicing their students.

Currently, five colleges in the United States and Canada are piloting the Scaller visual IVR solution, and Yair expects the first one to sign on as a client very soon.

Vocantas and Jacada had previously worked together on a visual IVR solution for utilities called Utilities OnCall.

For Jacada, this marks its first foray into the education market. The Scaller solution also represents the first use of Jacada's visual IVR for an outbound application. "The typical use case so far has been inbound IVR," Yair says.

Yair says the outbound market is a great use case for the technology and one with plenty of potential. Outbound, he says, makes up about $700 million to $800 million of the total $2.8 billion IVR market, and visual IVR can expand that further. "I see a real need for a tool like this that can link the Web and mobile to the contact center," he says.

Yair also sees competition heating up among IVR vendors to capture a share of the visual IVR market. "We're seeing much more interest in [visual IVR], and more vendors entering the market," he says. "We're seeing a lot of movement right now."

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