IVR Capability FAQs
What is Interactive Voice Response?
IVR provides automated access to information and services over the phone. It integrates a company’s telephone and computer system to become a voice computer that transforms the caller’s telephone into a terminal capable of directly accessing information and services. IVR answers inquiries by prompting callers to input data onto the touchtone keypad, looking up the record in a database and speaking back information. It can also ask the caller for information, accept the answers as they are entered on the keypad and store the information in a database. Being a voice computer, an IVR system is capable of many-advanced transaction processing tasks.
What Can You Do With Interactive Voice Response?
Most people are familiar with bank-by-phone systems, but IVR technology can be used in almost any company that must service a large number of callers. It is the specific application programming that guides how the customer and company interact. With it, banks can provide detailed account information after the caller enters their account number, insurance companies can speak back the status of a specific claim number and a catalog company can register a customer’s purchase after the caller enters his account number and item codes.
Why Use Interactive Voice Response?
The ramifications of employing IVR can be felt throughout an organization. Foremost is the competitive advantage to be gained by providing superior customer service. IVR automation provides fast accurate answers to caller inquiries 24 hours a day. By offloading a majority of calls to the IVR system, the company reduces the burden on skilled personnel, reserving them for callers that need their attention. Employees are more productive and the company is able to significantly reduce overhead and expenses.
- Financial Services Account balance and history, funds transfer, bill payment, interest rate inquiries, loan payment calculators, loan applications, credit card activation, branch/ATM locator
- Healthcare Claims inquiry, eligibility inquiry, open enrollment, physician referral, test results reporting, facility and patient scheduling, pre-admission certification
- Insurance Claims inquiry, policy inquiry, loan applications, rate calculators, agent locators
- Retailers, Manufacturers Account inquiry, order status inquiry, order entry, locator, inventory inquiry, pricing information, literature requests
- Utilities Billing inquiry, outage reporting, emergency notification, collections notification, service on/off scheduling
- Government Tax refund status, tax filing, ticket inquires and payments, assessor inquiries
- Human Resources Benefits status, open enrollment, training registration, time and job reporting, job postings
Typical Client Questions
Q. My company receives a large volume of phone calls that are currently answered by telephone operators. Many of these calls are of a simple question and answer format. How can Asher IVR automate the processing of these calls releasing my staff to handle more complex customer support issues?
A. Asher IVR will work with you to identify the best manner to automate your customer service calls using Interactive Voice Response technology. The actual system functionality and capacity requirements will be identified and the benefits of implementing a new system documented.
Q. Once we identify how the IVR services are going to reduce my costs and improve my customer service, what will be Asher�s role in the system implementation?
A. Because Asher IVR�s are supplied as ASP implementations all of the development, maintenance and fulfillment activities are the sole responsibility of Asher.
Q. What are my responsibilities?
A. The client is responsible to maintain and provide access to any databases required by the IVR Application. Additionally, the client is responsible for the content of messages for outbound applications.
Q. What if I want changes to the existing software, can I make them myself or will Asher take care of that for me?
A. Asher IVR will make all software changes. All software changes are initiated in accordance with Asher change procedures and implemented by Asher IVR.
Q. How can you maintain my system remotely?
A. Asher IVR applications are custom developed to meet specific client requirements. Remote maintenance is normally accomplished either by telephonic or Internet interfaces. The individual application requirements will dictate the most efficient manner.
Q. What if I want to expand my system capacity?
A. Because Asher IVR is an ASP implementation it offers virtually infinite scalability.
Q. What is the investment required?
A. Implementation prices are based on system capacity and application complexity. Fulfillment service are billed either on a per transaction fee or connect time basis.
Q. Where can I find out more information?
A. Send us an email, or give us a call at 585.586.0020 and ask for IVR Sales.
A Quick Glossary of IVR Terms
IVR (Interactive Voice Response): These menu driven systems allow you to navigate through options allowing you to listen to various announcements and sometimes give you the opportunity to leave voice mail and/or send and receive faxes.
PBX (Public branch exchange): Solutions for larger businesses where a large number of connections can be pooled into a single incoming and outgoing line (usually a T1).
CENTREX: Like a PBX system except that it is managed at the Telco�s site. Centrex services usually provide fancy features such as voice mail and call forwarding. A lot of business lines in large North American cities are on some kind of Centrex system.
TAPI: This is a standard suite of functions developed by Microsoft, which allows programmers to control modems and communications ports. Several TAPI applications can run simultaneously (no more hogging the com port!)
MAPI: This is a suite of messaging functions which to send e-mail messages and faxes. MAPI can also be used to retrieve messages from the InBox and OutBox.
ASR: Automatic Speech Recognition. This is the technology that allows the IVR to understand spoken words instead of just touch-tone commands. Speech is a much more natural way for people to interact, however, it poses many challenges when used in an IVR. The ability to distinguish words despite a person’s accent or dialect presents a well known challenge. Similarly, the ability to recognize a wide variety of phrases to say the same thing introduces complexities in a telephone company grade speech application. Fortunately, with Asher’s technical and business development staff at your service, you can have the benefits of ASR and avoid the troubles – today.
TTS: Text-To-Speech. This technology allows the IVR to speak words from a file or a database. It is similar to the technology used to have a computer ‘read’ a book aloud. It does not require anyone to pre-record what it will say. The text it speaks may come from almost anywhere- such as an email message, a web page, or an instruction manual.
Telephony Acronym Glossary
ACD Automatic Call Distributor
ADSL Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line
ADPCM Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation
ADSI Analogue Display Services Interface
API Application Programming Interface
ASP Application Service Provider
ASR Automatic Speech Recognition
B2B Business To Business
BRI Basic Rate Interface
CAS Channel Associated Signaling
CLEC Competitive Local Exchange Carrier
CLI Calling Line Identity
CMP Computer Mediated Telephony
CPE Customer Premises Equipment
CRM Customer Relationship Management
CSI Called Subscriber Identifier
CTI Computer Telephony Integration
DASS2 Digital Access Signaling System No.2
DDE Dynamic Data Exchange
DDI Direct Dialing Inward
DECT Digital European Cordless Telecommunications
DID Direct Inward Dialing
DNIS Dialed Number Identification Service
DPNSS Digital Private Network Signaling System
DRTV Direct Response TV
DSL Digital Subscriber Line
DSP Digital Signal Processor
DTMF Dual Tone Multi-Frequency
DTN Deliver-To Number
E-1 Digital Signaling Protocol
FoIP Fax Over Internet Protocol
GUI Graphical User Interface
ICT Information Communications & Technology
IN Intelligent Network
IP Internet Protocol
IT Information Technology
IPRS International Premium Rate Service
ISA Industry Standard Architecture
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network
ITSP Internet Telephony Service Provider
IVR Interactive Voice Response
LAN Local Area Network
MVIP Multi-Vendor Integration Protocol
NGN Next Generation Network
NSP Network Service Provider
NU Number Un-obtainable
ODBC Open DataBase Connectivity
PBX Private Branch Exchange
PCM Pulse Code Modulation
POTS Plain Old Telephone Services
PRI Primary Rate Interface
PRS Premium Rate Service
PSB Packet Switched Back plane
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network
Q-931 ISDN Signaling Protocol
SAPI Speech Application Programming Interface
SDSL Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line
SIR Speaker Independent Recognition
SIT Special Information Tone
SMS Short Messaging Service
SONET Synchronous Optical Network
SoHo Small Office/Home Office
SS7 or C7 Signaling Scheme No.7
SQL Structured Query Language
T-1 Digital Signaling Protocol
TAPI Telephony Application Programming Interface
TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
TSDP Telephony Service Delivery Platform
UFN Universal Free phone Number
UM Unified Messaging
VAR Value Added Reseller
VOS Voice Operated Switch
VoFR Voice Over Frame Relay
VoIP Voice Over Internet Protocol
VPN Virtual Private Network
VRU Voice Response Unit
VXML Voice Extensible Markup Language
WAN Wide Area Network
WAP Wireless Application Protocol
WLAN Wireless Local Area Network
WML Wireless Markup Language