Summary decided to implement the Interactive Voice

 Summary  ·      Overview –  I am currently as a part timeemployee in a mid size financial institution. Because we have substantialnumber of customers and they call everyday for various reasons our call centerpeople are not enough to handle the huge call pressure. So our organizationhave decided to implement the Interactive Voice Message system (IVR) to reducecall volume pressure on the call center consultants and to have morestreamlined call experience. The credit card or any financial transaction,however will not route via IVR system. An IVR is an automated telephony systemthat interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to theappropriate recipient.

 ·      IVR Background –  IVR systems have evolved toaddress basic customer service and communications problems associated withscheduling and managing inspections, freeing up resources to undertake morecomplex tasks. There are several advantages of implementing an IVR system in anorganization. Some of them are mentioned below – (i)            Rapidlyexpanding businesses often find themselves without adequate customer service consultants.IVR systems reduce wait times for customers.

Also IVR minimized the need tohire employees to field questions and route calls and hence more return oninvestment and increase revenue.(ii)          CustomerFriendly with ability to call after hours.(iii)        Allowto automate customer support.(iv)         Givecustomers personalize experience.(v)          Routecustomers directly to your exact team member who is most qualified to meettheir needs.

  Problemstatement ·      Detail explanation of the problem–  Newforms of communication and information technology have become part of our dailylives. As consumers have become more demanding, the need for instantaccessibility to services at anytime and anywhere is increasing. Traditionalswitchboard and voice mail phone systems limit contact to standard businesshours and thus have long been a source of major frustration to both customersand call center consultants. IVR has evolved to address this issues and muchmore. IVRs avoid the issue of trapping customers in a “voicemail vortex” bygiving callers the opportunity to press”0″ to reach a customer servicerepresentative at any time.

Providing callers with the ability to selectbetween a touch-tone and a speech recognition system also significantly reducesthe chances of miscommunications. The costly errors associated withinterruptions to manual voicemail and faxes can be overcome here. Time involvedentering information using consultants is replaced with input of data bycustomers or if they are already in database the call can be directly routed tothe concerned team.

 ·      Why it needs to be addressed –  Recentresearch has indicated people respond better to the predictable environmentshowever they find technology products are difficult to use. Also as we are movingmore towards digitized world, the need to automate things become more relevant.Also we have ever demanding scenarios where people use smart phones and aremore inclined to get responds or access data quickly. Scientists have concludedthat it is easier for people to communicate with computer products if theproducts incorporate some human-like behaviors. A virtual telephone customeragent, where human voices are part of the machine, is an excellent option to whichshows companies using this strategy to have more customer satisfaction.  ·      What others are doing who havethis problem –  Companiesare trying to meet the market needs by creating products that will handlecustomer needs to address huge call volume pressure. Hundreds of these productshave failed because they are too complicated to use. So all other companies aretrying to get rid of age old telephony system and other costly alternatives toimplement IVR system.

  Purpose of theproject with solution and rationale ·      Goals of the project and expectedoutcome –  The goal of the project is to proposea design and hence address the customer call satisfaction by successfully implementinga full stack IVR system. Given below a proposed process flow and necessaryhardware and software needed to accomplish this project. The IVR system is veryoften 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 theIVR 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 expectedoutcome –  IVRs represent a powerful meansfor automating business and customer-facing processes. It is an automatedtelephony technology that is used to interact to the clients or customer throughphone keypad or voice commands. IVR systems process phone calls, play pre recordedmessage and provide callers with real time data from databases and potentially routecalls to consultants. IVR technology requires virtually no human interactionover the telephone, as the user’s interaction with the database is predeterminedby what the IVR system will allow the user access to.

For example, in ourorganization it will be very helpful for our customers to receive up-to-dateaccount information instantly and easily without having to wait to speak with someonedirectly. Mostly it is used 24*365 days. IVR system is very useful where somelimited inquiry is asked like checking bank balances, checking the timing ofstore hours or locations etc. in high customer satisfaction and operationaleffectiveness. A typical IVR in our company will use an IVR server (havingeither ASR or DTMF) and a management application database, which enables acaller 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 databasewith its telephony environment.                    When a caller will reach the IVRsystem by dialing a number he/she has 2 options to choose between speech option(in that case Automatic Speech Recognition System will be activated) andtouchstone option (in that case DTMF Recognizer will be activated). If theuser’s phone number is already registered in the database then no need forentering phone number else the user has to enter his/her phone number.

Then theuser will be prompted with few options like getting latest bank statement,credit card application process etc and based on that the user will be givenappropriate answers which is already stored in the database. If the user hasfurther question, then user will be re directed to the right consultant group ·      Equipments –  (i)   Hardware- Hardware for IVR is divided into computers (a production server and usually atest server) and voice boards.(ii)  Software – The software toolsincorporated 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 proposedbusiness solution, we want to try on initial or limited scale.

Hence, by usingopen source software and with little hardware the whole system can be built.This can give your company a tremendous cost advantage over traditionalbusiness models that charge largely for their proprietary software.   Component Cost PC $20,000 ASR and DTMF $12,000 Operating System (Linux) Free App Software Free Total $32,000    ·      Conclusion –  Interactive Voice ResponseSystems are an interesting technology for supporting mobility in modern ITprojects.

It is a powerful tool for increasing customer satisfaction, and itcan help reduce the overall cost of any office/call center etc whilemaintaining or even increasing the number of incoming calls. By using the rightstrategies and proven best practices organizations can avoid difficulties thatcan result in financial losses and customer dissatisfaction.   ·      References –