International Journal of Speech Technology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Explaining the (non) adoption and use of interactive voice response (IVR) among small and medium-sized enterprises



Typically, the penetration of interactive voice response systems (IVRs) is described as being very high especially among large companies. The paper at hand discusses the use and adoption rate of such systems among companies, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The study conducted shows that the penetration of IVRs is far lower (about 12%) than initially thought. The main reason stated for this low penetration level seems to be the incompatibility of the company’s business model with an automated telephone answering system. However, the evaluation of results gave evidence that this reason serves as a pretext only and that the real reason(s) for not adopting an interactive voice response system might be far more complicated and profound. It is supposed that the negative historic perception of automated speech system still prevails and that IVR providers and sellers have failed to communicate the system’s progress as well as its benefits and its numerous areas of application.


Interactive voice response (IVR) Adoption of information systems (IS) Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) Customer service 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anton, J. (2000). The past, present and future of customer access centers. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 11(2). Google Scholar
  2. Aspects Communications (2005). Contact centre survey 2005. Survey, Retrieved April 30, 2009, from
  3. Berne Economic Agency Development (2006). Strengths of Switzerland. Retrieved November 17th, 2010, from
  4. Communications International (1995). VM gets the message, 20, 14–15. Google Scholar
  5. Chase, R. B., & Dasu, S. (2001). Want to perfect your company’s service? Use behavioral science. Harvard Business Review, 79(6), 78–84. Google Scholar
  6. Churchill, G. A., & Iacobucci, D. (2005). Marketing research: Methodological foundations. Mason: Thomson, South-Western. Google Scholar
  7. ContactBabel (2006). North American contact centers in 2006: The state of the industry. Survey, County Durham (UK). Retrieved April 1, 2009, from
  8. Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, S. P. (2008). Business research methods (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Google Scholar
  9. Datamonitor (2003). Speech deployments to grow at a fast clip. Article. Retrieved from
  10. Dettmer, R. (2003). It’s good to talk. IEE Review, 49(6), 30. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frost, & Sullivan (2007). North American IVR systems market. Market study, Retrieved from
  12. Frost, & Sullivan (2006). U.S. IVR systems market—Hope for growth through speech. Market Study, February 2006. Google Scholar
  13. Fuller, T. (1996). Fulfilling IT needs in small businesses; a recursive learning model. International Small Business Journal, 14(4), 25. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaehr (2008). Analysis of the market and potential of IVR solutions. Master Thesis, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Google Scholar
  15. Kloosterman, S. H. (1994). Design and implementation of a user-oriented speech recognition interface: the synergy of technology and human factors. Article / Letter to editor. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from
  16. Kotter, J., & Rathgeber, H. (2006). Our iceberg is melting—changing and suceeding under any conditions. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Google Scholar
  17. Lenning et al. (1995). Directory assistance automation in Bell Canada: trial results. Speech Communication, 17, 227–234. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McGregor, J., & Gomes, C. (1999). Technology uptake in SMEs: Some evidence from New Zealand. Journal of Small Business Management, 37(3), 94–102. Google Scholar
  19. Musico, C. (2008). VoiceXML propels global investement in IVRs. Speech Technology. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from–48953.aspx.
  20. Oberteuffer, J. A. (1995). Commercial applications of speech interface technology: An industry at the threshold. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92(22), 10007–10010. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pasha, A. (2002). How much can you save using voice-over-IP? Express Computer Online. Retrieved April 29, 2009, from
  22. Schmiemann, M. (2008). Enterprises by size class—overview of SMEs in the EU. Statistics in focus (p. 8). Eurostat (European Commission). Retrieved from
  23. Snyder, J., Hegg, A., von Kaenel, M., Galambos, S., & Mbittha, E. (2006) High tech heart of Europe: Switzerland matters! Power Point Presentation from the U.S. Commercial Service, Retrieved November 17th, 2010, from
  24. Spoken Communications (2006). Benchmark portal IVR study. Productivity Software, 19(9), 7–8. Google Scholar
  25. Sullivan, M. (2007). How to switch to VoIP phone service. PCWorld. Retrieved April 29, 2009, from
  26. Thong, J. Y. L. (1999). An integrated model of information systems adoption in small businesses. Journal of Management Information Systems, 15(4), 187–214. Google Scholar
  27. Valentine, L. (2002). Voice recognition frees hands; boosts customer service. ABA Banking Journal, 94(4). Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Organization and ManagementUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.International Institute of Management in TechnologyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations