Virgin Airlines Goes for Second Helping of TuVox

Virgin America airlines and TuVox, a hosted interactive voice response (IVR) provider, signed an agreement which will see TuVox hosting Virgin’s voice self-service capabilities through 2012.

The provider has worked on Virgin’s IVR system since even before 2007, when the airline had not yet been given official approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate.

Given the current recessionary economy, when many enterprises are cutting back on their offerings, Virgin’s vote of confidence in TuVox and its technology is welcome news for the company. TuVox has been with the company almost since its inception, building the IVR from the ground up.

“We went through a period where we had to hang in there with them while they worked through their DOT approval, which got very difficult and delayed things,” says John Kirst, senior vice president of sales and business development for TuVox. “We developed a good relationship back then.”

The IVR, Kirst says, is “an intelligent front door” that takes inbound calls into TuVox’s hosted system and provides a number of self-service options upfront and captures information about travel plans for the agent to complete a reservation. Because the system was in place before the airline was up and running, many of its early callers were curious individuals wanting to learn about the carrier and do fare browsing.

Since then, the IVR adapted to handle Virgin’s one million frequent flyers, and is currently being adjusted to provide a more personal experience, Kirst adds.

The Virgin system is not TuVox’s first experience building an IVR for an air carrier. The company also built the system behind American Airlines. When asked if the company was taking aim at any other carriers, Kirst responded that while TuVox would love to do more, the airline industry has varied customer service and investment approaches, suggesting there aren’t other such deals in the works for the time being.

The details of Virigin’s new contract with TuVox are undisclosed.

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