800 / Toll Free Service
Who actually pays for the call, and how much?
The individual or company sponsoring the number is responsible for charges. Although there is no ‘flat rate’ service available (a fixed charge for the number with unlimited use like some local residential service) the usage rate or charge per minute has become ‘postalized’ (one rate from all parts of the country) subsequent to the entry of more competitive carriers following 800 number portability.
What are the specific advantages in using 800 service to receive calls?
The Service Access Code (SAC) ‘800’ has come to symbolize much more than just ‘FREE’ since its inception 30 years ago. Companies who pioneered the use of 800 numbers have become known as ‘companies that care’ or ‘want to keep in touch’ with their customers. When a caller dials your 800 number, they enter a feature-rich network of capabilities that make your company look good. While an area code symbolizes or represents a specific area of the country or world, 800 symbolizes a place where companies care about their customers – and your company looks just as big, caring, and prosperous as any of the others. And you have the opportunity to know more about your callers. The telephone number of the caller comes with each call. By offering toll free 800 or 888 service, you make a statement about caring by bringing convenience to the caller.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
How can I get my call counts, change my message material, and retrieve replies from callers?
Each client is provided with a unique 800 number for access to their program and its contents.
How secure is my information hosted on IVR equipment?
Each client is assigned a unique passcode in addition to an unlisted 800 number.
What if I want to supply recorded information to callers, but also offer a live operator option?
The ability to transfer callers from the IVR to a live operator is an available option. You will need to specify to your account executive whether or not your program requires ‘supervision’ of the call transfer. That simply means, will the IVR deliver the call to a predetermined number (e.g. your desk phone) or be required to transfer the call to the ‘next available’ operator in a group of representatives. You will need to make important decisions related to staffing before you make a final decision.
What exactly is included in the monthly IVR fee?
There is virtually no limit to the complexity of the program or the number of menu choices – only those imposed by the target market you wish to satisfy. Most consumers are anxious to receive the information they seek after no more than three separate menu or table selections. Every IVR sponsor is entitled to up to a full hour or 10 Mb of storage for voice files. Recording messages from callers is also included at no charge, but the same storage limits apply. Additional storage and/or additional features such as transfer out to another location require additional charges. Talk to an account executive for a complete explanation.
Don’t most people prefer a live operator for telephone transactions?
Not necessarily. A survey found that senior citizens preferred the automated ticket ordering and information system offered by Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL over live operators because they had more confidence in the automated system than they did in the ability of a live operator to retreive the correct information. For specific applications with no ‘upsell’ or special handling required (e.g. a mail order offering for a men’s golf putter, a request for a catalog, or a specialty video) an automated system operated by the IVR produces the most cost effective results. Without the high costs of operator services, specific sale items may be offered at lower price points, generating larger demand.
How does an IVR system handle calls from rotary and pulse telephones?
The Telecom Reform Act of 1996 retained subsidized support for ‘universal’ telephone service, and the FCC Joint Board decided to make Dual Tone Multiple Frequency (DTMF) signalling, or ‘touch tone’, available to every telephone subscriber – at no extra cost. Even in areas where the telephone company switch does not yet support DTMF, the ‘touch tone’ option on those phones can communicate with an IVR after the call is connected. While voice recognition systems still present some problems in dealing with substantially different accents from different parts of the country, Telecompute Corporation employs rotary and pulse signalling conversion to DTMF (touch tone) for selected applications. Most 800 sponsors and 900 Information Providers (IPs) find that their target market is predominately made up of households with touch tone capability.
How much will programming for my customized IVR application cost?
The standard installation fee includes up to three hours of software programming unique to your special application. Most programs are installed without any additional charges. If additional programming is necessary, the fee is $99 per hour with a specific estimate provided before work is begun.
What kind of reports can I expect to receive?
Both ‘800’ and ‘900’ call records include the telephone number of the caller. Since we receive this information electronically, customers can request customized reports which include such details as duration of the call, time of day, and area code fields all sorted to their unique requirements. Paper or electronic reports may be transmitted via regular mail, fax, courier, or e-mail.
How does the system work?
Each client organization is assigned a unique local or toll free (‘800’) number that is used only for their members each and every tome they hold a telephone meeting. Operator-assisted calls are answered by an operator. Callers who use our automated systems must enter a 4-digit pass code.
What is the coverage area and when does it operate?
Our automated system is available on a 24/7 basis, including toll free access from many developed countries.Our operator-assisted services is available from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern Time during each business day, and can originate calls to any destination, world wide.
How do I use the system and what will our bill look like?
Each telephone meeting requires a reservation, using either our toll free number 800-872-2489 or our web-based reservation system. Every conference call is separated on the monthly bill according to subject, time, and date.