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.
IVR - Call-A-Bike Success Story
Contact: Christian Hogl
Call-A-Bike* is not just any bike rental company. It’s working on an innovative and alternative transportation idea for the fast-growing and traffic-ridden city of Munich. The idea is to offer a cost-effective, comfortable, easy and convenient alternative to city driving, with clear advantages:
However, keeping track of over 2,000 bicycles and customers at any one time is a challenge. The service needed to handle 4,000+ calls per day, remain customer friendly, and provide a cost-effective solution.
- It is much less expensive than a taxi.
- Bikes are more flexible than public transportation.
- The service would be offered round the clock.
- Pick-up or return is possible at any time or at any phone booth.
Call-A-Bike chose a PC-based call center platform with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system based on Intel® Dialogic® ISDN hardware and the Computer Telephony Application Development Environment (CT ADE), a set of development tools and run-time environments that make it quick and easy to build robust, portable CT applications..
New customers dial the call center's toll-free number to open an account and supply personal information. Call center agents issue a unique customer identification number.
To rent a bicycle from alongside one of many phone booths in the city, customers call a toll-free number and input their unique identification number along with the number off the bicycle they wish to rent. The system then supplies a code to unlock the bicycle via an on-board touch-screen locking mechanism.
Upon return of the bicycle, customers push the "Finished" button on the bike and are supplied a receipt code. They call the toll-free number again and enter in their receipt code. Payment for the usage time is automatically charged to a credit card or taken from a bank account, whichever was specified in their initial account profile. Rental time can range from 10 minutes to 48 hours, as rates are charged by the minute.
A locking mechanism is installed on each bicycle, eliminating the need for costly satellite tracking systems or inconvenient return stations. The prerequisite for renting a bicycle is that personal information and payment details be on account with the rental service’s call center. This helps deter bicycle theft and promote timely return of equipment.
Besides greeting and rental/return processes, the IVR system provides answers to routine questions -- all without talking to a call center agent. For complex and unique questions, or for any other reason, a caller may access a live call center agent. As an additional feature, the system grabs the caller's information (via CallerID or account number) and displays that account information on the call center agent’s screen before accepting the call. This “screen-pop” saves time as it helps improve service.
Such innovative call center applications require integration communication technology and data processing, linking IVR capabilities with CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) technology. CTI involves the processing of telephone calls including call transfers, screen pops, and database access. IVR involves touchtone-driven menus and database access to process caller input.
The initial Call-A-Bike solution ran on a 450 Mhz Intel® Pentium® processor-based PC with 512MB HD and the Windows NT* operating system. An Oracle* database accessed customers' data. The call center is connected to the PSTN (Deutsche Telekom) via two ISDN primary rate interface-equipped voice boards from Intel (Intel® Dialogic® D/300SC-E1 cards). The configuration supported up to 60 simultaneous calls.
Call center agents were connected to the platform via two station interface boards from Intel (MSI/240SC cards) as well. CT ADE was used to write the application because itdelivers a simple and user-friendly development environment for building CTI and CT solutions and supports a broad range of telephony hardware and software technologies.
Christian Hogl, an expert in database development, IT management and co-founder of Call-A-Bike stated that by choosing Intel® Dialogic® hardware and CT ADE , “we were able to work faster and more efficiently. Compared to using limited, off-the-shelf solutions, which are not flexible or customer specific, we were able to build a tailored solution within a very short period of time and at a much lower cost." .
With the combination of CT ADE software and Intel® Dialogic® hardware, Call-A-Bike achieved a smooth and seamless integration between their database/IVR and call center telephony environment. CT ADE enables Call-A-Bike to easily control and manipulate the call flow of the application and keep track of all the events that occur within the call center. On the other side, the call center agents are able to see callers who are having problems or need assistance, and personally attend to them.
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.