IVR Interactive Voice Response
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR and interactive voice response software as well as automatic call answering solutions.
Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country.
Our PACER and Wizard IVR systems add another dimension to our call center phone system solutions. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either in-house service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.
Speech Recognition Technology
The following is an extract from the article "Speech Recognition Is Sound Automation" By Joe Fleischer from Call Center Magazine.
"Many speech rec applications default to directed dialogs anyway once callers say what information they want or the type of transaction they want to carry out. A directed dialog is most appropriate, says Marcello Typrin, group marketing manager with Nuance (Menlo Park, CA), "once you've narrowed the scope of the inquiry down."
Edify's Bray concurs. "If you narrow down the context, you can start to narrow the possibility of where the caller wants to go," he says.
One such possibility is directing a caller to an agent. Increasingly, the premise of automation isn't to offload customers to IVR systems during busy times, or replace agents with machines. More companies are using IVR, with the help of speech rec, to qualify customers to speak with agents.
ScanSoft's Kassel cites two clients, Thrifty, the car rental company, and ABN Amro, a mortgage company. Both companies, he says, "have lots of callers who would shop on price." In other words, callers would spend time on the phone with agents asking about rates, but wouldn't necessarily rent cars or apply for mortgages.
By providing rates up front, Thrifty's and ABN Amro's speech-enabled IVR systems now automate calls that were least productive for agents, while ensuring that callers who are genuinely interested in renting cars or refinancing their homes speak with agents.
Companies are also trying to identify which types of speech rec applications customers find easiest to use. This empirical approach, which is possible as more consumers come to rely on speech rec, has an impact not only on how you select which portions of transactions to automate, but also on how you fine-tune your existing applications.
Intervoice, for instance, offers a customer satisfaction survey application that employs speech rec. At press time, Intervoice was planning to deploy the survey tool this fall for an insurance provider, but wasn't ready to reveal which company it is.
Another speech rec application available from Intervoice collects names and addresses. By early next year, Intervoice intends to introduce a tool that allows callers to use speech rec to reset passwords and personal identification numbers.
These three applications, plus a speech rec tool that lets callers find cross streets for stores or branches, all fall under the rubric of Intervoice's Omvia Speech Components. Intervoice also offers applications derived from those it previously developed for financial, travel and health care companies.
ScanSoft's SpeechPAKs similarly comprise applications for specific industries. The most recent SpeechPAK from ScanSoft is for health care providers. It automates calls that involve, among other scenarios, verifying coverage, checking the status of claims, locating doctors in health plans, refilling prescriptions or requesting ID cards.
Yet no matter how companies characterize their applications of speech rec, says Mike Segura, Intervoice's business group manager of product management, "they tend to keep their eye on overall transaction costs."
Nuance's Typrin agrees that cost is a priority, especially in the context of return on investment. "The top-line economic metric is what is the payback period," he says.
But that may not be for long. Amtrak, which lets callers use speech rec to find out schedules and buy train tickets, is among a growing number of companies that survey their customers about whether they plan to continue to use their IVR applications.
In the near future, call centers could amass evidence to show that the value of speech rec isn't in containing calls, but in retaining customers...."
Wizard Simplifies Development
DSC provides IVR software including our IVR wizard development tool for creating interactive voice response applications.
Our IVR software lets you increase IVR development productivity by providing a visual development environment. IVR applications can be defined in minutes using this sophisticated, yet easy to use development tool.
DSC also has available a comprehensive IVR software library known as our IVR Wizard Software Development Kit. This optional package is available for programmers and systems adminstrators who wish to manage IVR programs fromLinux IVR, Unix, or Windows IVR operating environments.
Data collected by your phone ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems can be passed to your existing PC, Unix or Web applications through our phone software.
The PACER predictive dialer can automatically call your customers and pass only connected calls to your agents. With our computer telephony software, your telephone and computer work together to provide cost-saving benefits.