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 800program 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.)