Summary decided to implement the Interactive Voice




Overview –

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I am currently as a part time
employee in a mid size financial institution. Because we have substantial
number of customers and they call everyday for various reasons our call center
people are not enough to handle the huge call pressure. So our organization
have decided to implement the Interactive Voice Message system (IVR) to reduce
call volume pressure on the call center consultants and to have more
streamlined call experience. The credit card or any financial transaction,
however will not route via IVR system. An IVR is an automated telephony system
that interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to the
appropriate recipient.


IVR Background –


IVR systems have evolved to
address basic customer service and communications problems associated with
scheduling and managing inspections, freeing up resources to undertake more
complex tasks. There are several advantages of implementing an IVR system in an
organization. Some of them are mentioned below –


expanding businesses often find themselves without adequate customer service consultants.
IVR systems reduce wait times for customers. Also IVR minimized the need to
hire employees to field questions and route calls and hence more return on
investment and increase revenue.

Friendly with ability to call after hours.

to automate customer support.

customers personalize experience.

customers directly to your exact team member who is most qualified to meet
their needs.





Detail explanation of the problem


forms of communication and information technology have become part of our daily
lives. As consumers have become more demanding, the need for instant
accessibility to services at anytime and anywhere is increasing. Traditional
switchboard and voice mail phone systems limit contact to standard business
hours and thus have long been a source of major frustration to both customers
and call center consultants. IVR has evolved to address this issues and much
more. IVRs avoid the issue of trapping customers in a “voicemail vortex” by
giving callers the opportunity to press”0″ to reach a customer service
representative at any time. Providing callers with the ability to select
between a touch-tone and a speech recognition system also significantly reduces
the chances of miscommunications. The costly errors associated with
interruptions to manual voicemail and faxes can be overcome here. Time involved
entering information using consultants is replaced with input of data by
customers or if they are already in database the call can be directly routed to
the concerned team.


Why it needs to be addressed –


research has indicated people respond better to the predictable environments
however they find technology products are difficult to use. Also as we are moving
more towards digitized world, the need to automate things become more relevant.
Also we have ever demanding scenarios where people use smart phones and are
more inclined to get responds or access data quickly. Scientists have concluded
that it is easier for people to communicate with computer products if the
products incorporate some human-like behaviors. A virtual telephone customer
agent, where human voices are part of the machine, is an excellent option to which
shows companies using this strategy to have more customer satisfaction.


What others are doing who have
this problem –


are trying to meet the market needs by creating products that will handle
customer needs to address huge call volume pressure. Hundreds of these products
have failed because they are too complicated to use. So all other companies are
trying to get rid of age old telephony system and other costly alternatives to
implement IVR system.



Purpose of the
project with solution and rationale


Goals of the project and expected
outcome –


The goal of the project is to propose
a design and hence address the customer call satisfaction by successfully implementing
a full stack IVR system. Given below a proposed process flow and necessary
hardware and software needed to accomplish this project. The IVR system is very
often the only contact a caller has with a company when he requests a service,
such as reserving a ticket for a movie. It is therefore very important that the
IVR system provides high quality, in terms of robustness, stability,
correctness of the menu branches and quality of the voice announcements.


Goals of the project and expected
outcome –


IVRs represent a powerful means
for automating business and customer-facing processes. It is an automated
telephony technology that is used to interact to the clients or customer through
phone keypad or voice commands. IVR systems process phone calls, play pre recorded
message and provide callers with real time data from databases and potentially route
calls to consultants. IVR technology requires virtually no human interaction
over the telephone, as the user’s interaction with the database is predetermined
by what the IVR system will allow the user access to. For example, in our
organization it will be very helpful for our customers to receive up-to-date
account information instantly and easily without having to wait to speak with someone
directly. Mostly it is used 24*365 days. IVR system is very useful where some
limited inquiry is asked like checking bank balances, checking the timing of
store hours or locations etc. in high customer satisfaction and operational
effectiveness. A typical IVR in our company will use an IVR server (having
either ASR or DTMF) and a management application database, which enables a
caller to select from a pre-set menu of options to complete business transactions.
The diagram below shows how a typical IVR integrates a department’s database
with its telephony environment.






When a caller will reach the IVR
system by dialing a number he/she has 2 options to choose between speech option
(in that case Automatic Speech Recognition System will be activated) and
touchstone option (in that case DTMF Recognizer will be activated). If the
user’s phone number is already registered in the database then no need for
entering phone number else the user has to enter his/her phone number. Then the
user will be prompted with few options like getting latest bank statement,
credit card application process etc and based on that the user will be given
appropriate answers which is already stored in the database. If the user has
further question, then user will be re directed to the right consultant group


Equipments –


– Hardware for IVR is divided into computers (a production server and usually a
test server) and voice boards.

(ii)  Software – The software tools
incorporated within an IVR include a spectrum of components from database (e.g.
MS SQL), system administration applications and reporting tools.


Budget –


As we are starting this proposed
business solution, we want to try on initial or limited scale. Hence, by using
open source software and with little hardware the whole system can be built.
This can give your company a tremendous cost advantage over traditional
business models that charge largely for their proprietary software.








Operating System (Linux)


App Software







Conclusion –


Interactive Voice Response
Systems are an interesting technology for supporting mobility in modern IT
projects. It is a powerful tool for increasing customer satisfaction, and it
can help reduce the overall cost of any office/call center etc while
maintaining or even increasing the number of incoming calls. By using the right
strategies and proven best practices organizations can avoid difficulties that
can result in financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.




References –