- Order Capture
- Call Screening, Management, & Reports
- Automated Routing to Next Available Operator
- Call Routing, Operators, & Dealer Locator
Interactive Voice Response
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) encompasses a wide variety of functions completed through the use of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). Interactivity implies some exchange of information between one or more parties and a degree of control over which or how much information is retreived or exchanged.
Voice Processing is frequently used to facilitate interactions with other environments such as host databases, telephone systems, fax machines, or operators.
The complete development process consists of design, engineering, installation, testing, documentation, and training. The average installation takes ten (10) working days. Every IVR application has secure, 24 hour access, usually provided via an 800 number and protected by a passcode. Telephone support for each Information Provider, or their designated representative, is also available 24 hours a day.
Store & Forward Messaging
Not only can our system(s) store and deliver recorded message(s) at a pre-determined date and time, the system can also record a (variety of) response(s) to that message. A response might be as simple as ‘press 1 to indicate you have received this message’ as part of a company-wide alert system, or as sophisticated as a response to a menu listing preferred reservation dates or other selected choices. The combined results of this broadcast can be transmitted via email to the program sponsor, including the telephone number(s) dialed, the date and time of connect, and the appropriate response(s) recorded by the message recipient(s).
Electronic Messaging: Capturing Voice Information
The recording and storage of voice information delivered by the caller to the program has become known generically as “Voice Mail.” Voice Mail is a technique based upon telephone access through which you can send and receive spoken messages anytime, anywhere.*
If the message is a lengthy one (or the question needs to be broken up into smaller parts to be managed effectively) we have developed a process we call Concatenated Voice Mail. Simply, the responses to a series of questions are united or linked together in a series to provide a comprehensive answer, order, or response – with the information fields or segments always arranged in the order you desire for ease in processing or review.
Regular Voice Mail and Concatenated Voice Mail are essential functional elements of programs which take orders, capture names and addresses, or provide a forum for callers to exchange information.
The recording of information necessary to the placement of a customer order through automated voice technology is a product area that we pioneered. Our first audiotext product, introduced in 1987, was the automated ordering of television program transcripts through the telephone by calling 1-800-USA-TEXT. The ‘system’ received 500,000 calls the first year, and was employed by ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, and PBS within that first 12 months. The order taking process employs a technology commonly referred to as “concatenated voice mail.” In this process, we deliver a series of recorded prompts to the caller, record the separate responses, and then ‘reassemble’ the total response in one voice file.
This process accomplishes several objectives. The questions can be individually focused in order to avoid confusion for the caller. The questions can be asked in the order preferred. Each section is ‘voice activated’ meaning the recording will stop after a long pause silent period, moving on to the next question (Callers using touch tone telephones can proceed even faster). And finally, separate time limits for response can be set for each question, reducing total operating costs.
Our proprietary InfoCollect system allows callers to transfer or receive the same information recorded and played back from computer disc in an audio cassette format. InfoCollect allows the ‘voice files’ to be accessed in a unique way. The complete (reassembled) orders are played individually, separated by a file number and a ‘beep’ tone, allowing an information provider to call in, determine the number of files, begin recording, go to lunch or about his or her business, and have the InfoCollect system terminate the call automatically when all files have been transferred.
The Orders\Caller Records can be made available to the telephone program sponsor in a variety of methods:
- ASCII data (computer) format on diskette or tape
- Audio Records on computer diskette or audio tape
- Printed Labels
- Audio Records on demand (24 hours) via 800 access *
- Audio Records via ‘batch’ transfer with InfoCollect
- OnLine Transmission, Mail, Fax, FEDEX
* Standard Response times are one week except for 24 hour access. Standard Record Fields are Name, Address, Product, Phone Number.
*Martin Parker, A Practical Guide to Voice Mail, Osborne McGraw-Hill
Call Screening, Management, & Reports
The telephone carriers provide certain information at the beginning of each call, in some cases before the call is connected. That information usually includes the following:
- The telephone number of the calling party
- The telephone number that the caller dialed
With instructions from the Information Provider or 800/900 program sponsor, the Interactive Voice response (IVR) equipment can be given detailed and specific instructions related to:
- Which callers will be admitted to the program(s)
- Which geographic areas to admit (or not)
- Special messages for repeat callers or those who haven’t paid
- Control the time of access to certain dollar or time limits
- Block access from carriers who cannot bill callers.
- Prevent duplicate calls during contests, promotions or polls
Support Services – Reports
The theme central to the delivery of information by telephone is always ‘get lots of calls.’ Analyzing detailed information related to those calls will allow a successful information provider to:
- Increase Responses and Call Volumes
- Eliminate Undesirable Responses
To facilitate both fraud prevention and analysis of advertising effectiveness, we maintain on- line information links with the major carriers that allow us to create timely reports which are tailored to the specific needs of the sponsor of the telephone number.
Email Call Detail Reports
For a fixed price of just $39 per month, our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems capture and forward reports of your voice program call detail activity several times per day – including the telephone number of the caller, time of call origination, and call duration. (This service is mandatory for MCI 900 applications.)
Web Access to Call Detail Reports
For those voice applications employing AT&T 800 or Local numbers, unlimited access to virtual real time call detail information is available on a 24/7 basis.
Basic Service – Call Detail Reports
The basic reporting service costs just $39 per month with no installation fee. Included at no extra charge are DAILY reports, identifying the telephone number of EACH caller, and the date, time, and duration of the call. The basic service fee includes the calls sorted and reported in chronological order of connect time and date.
Automated Routing To Next Available Operator
It is possible to operate your own ‘virtual’ call center without any physical premises at all. Your operators can log into our system via an 800 number. After entering their own pass code to ‘log on’ to the system, they will receive calls in the order called, or from repeat customers or callers who select an extension which routes the calls directly to the preferred operator. If an operator is busy, the call will automatically be routed to the next available operator. If that caller selected a specific extension, the caller will be advised of the ‘busy’ situation and given the option of being served by the next available operator or calling back later. If an operator fails to answer a call, it will automatically be routed to the next available operator. After missing two calls in a row, that operator will automatically be rejected from the system and will need to log in again in order to accept calls.
There is an additional charge of $599 for installing all of the telephone numbers, extensions, and pass codes for the operators. All other regular Interactive Voice Response IVR installation, transport, taxes and service fees apply.
A simple “ring no answer, then go to ” instruction set is quite adequate for most “after hours” telephone call routing.
However, for certain applications, a preset routing pattern based upon the time of day can be helpful. For example, a help desk program that operates 24 hours a day and employs technicians “on call” in separate parts of the world. When combined with the “Virtual Call Center” application, night time calls are automatically routed to those technicians available to take calls during traditional daylight working hours.
Call Routing, Operators, & Dealer Locator
Call routing to virtually anywhere in the continental 48 states is supported at extremely low prices, due to our volume discounts and direct access to long distance trunks. Call routing can be combined with virtually all other services. For example, calls can be screened or otherwise ‘filtered’ as they come into the network, and routed directly to a predetermined telephone number or a variety of alternate circumstances such as next available agent.
If your application requires the ‘human touch’, we can connect your callers to highly skilled, courteous, and efficient operators. You pay for these services by the minute, just like every other usage sensative service, eliminating the costs associated with employees or minimum staffing.
The Dealer Locator program uses the long distance billing software – but in reverse! Here’s how. While a normal long distance call is billed by measuring the straight line distance between the two ‘end offices’ (determined by the first 6 digits of the calling and receiving phone number), the Dealer Locator program compares the first 6 digits of the caller’s phone number against the first 6 digits of all of the dealers or agents in the database for that specific application. The call is routed to the dealer or agent within the lowest straight line distance from the caller’s location.