Interactive Voice Response Services

Call centers can utilize interactive voice response systems to greatly increase call volume capabilities and customer satisfaction. IVR makes it possible for a computer to process spoken words or commands and numbers by the specific tone they make. The computers using this kind of technology can detect spoken and typed sounds from regular phones. In other words, it is not necessary to invest in special telephones equipped for interactive voice response services. IVR telephony is designed to respond to pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio input to direct the caller to the person or department that can best assist them. This type of telephone technology can be used to handle phone calls in almost any industry, as long as the calls can be broken down into simple menu choices. Once the specific call paths are created, the IVR structure can handle an unbelievably large amount of incoming phone calls.

Call centers and large companies across the globe handle numerous incoming phone calls everyday thanks to the creation of interactive voice response services. Typically, a call center will use a Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) to identify which script to use with certain dialed numbers. Once the appropriate telephone script is chosen, the caller is then given menu choices using either pre-recorded audio file or a dynamically generated Text to Speech (TTS). The interactive voice response systems then process the callers' choices by either discerning their spoken word or by recognizing the different tones of the typed numbers on their phone's key pad. For more complex menu choices, speech recognition works far better than key pad tones. In addition, verbal choices tend to simplify the menu as well.

Increasing call volume capabilities is the top reason for call centers and large companies to choose interactive voice response services. Simply put, once the technology is constructed to fit the individual needs of the company, it can handle at least twice the amount of calls than a receptionist or designated call taker. In addition, IVR machines can handle calls around the clock and on days the business would normally be closed. Interactive voice response systems also lower costs. The initial cost of constructing a tailor made program quickly pays for itself as the salary of at least one, if not many, receptionists are no longer necessary. There is also a higher rate of customer satisfaction when their calls are handled using IVR technology. Perhaps this is due to a decreased incidence of calls going to the wrong department, but this may very well be due to the fact that disgruntled callers can no longer take out their frustrations on an automated phone system.

The uses for interactive voice response services are many. IVR technology can be a benefit in the credit card servicing industry. Telephone banking also is made possible in large part to interactive speech recognition applications. Televoting, like the ballot casting found in television contests, regularly uses IVR technology. In fact, call centers can detect where the specific call is coming from and, with computer telephone integration (CTI), will identify the caller on the company database. This additional technology helps in choosing the correct language and selecting the right personal information to disclose to the caller. The accuracy of CTI can be as high as 80%, so it is a somewhat reliable way to segment and organize a client database. "Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears." (Job 13:17)

Privacy and anonymity can be insured using interactive voice response services to field incoming calls. With an automated system, callers can request or give private information without having to disclose the situation to another person. Many hospitals and medical clinics are relying on IVR technology as a private way for patients to call in and receive medical test results. For example, if a 16 year old girl was suffering from hemorrhoids, she would most likely prefer to hear the test results from an automated service rather than from a 22 year old male nurse. In this way, clinics can not only protect the patient's privacy, but can guard their honor and comfort as well. Another common use of interactive voice response systems within the healthcare field is pharmaceutical surveys. With IVR applications, large pharmaceutical companies can conduct worldwide surveys on the usage, effectiveness and side effects of the drugs being studied. The callers answer a list of questions, called a voice form. Their answers are recorded and entered into a database for later organization and study.

Even though IVR technology can translate text to speech, receive calls faster and more efficiently than humans, answer calls around the clock and on weekends and protect the caller's privacy, there are still many drawbacks to the interactive voice response systems. When poorly designed on the front end, before application, an IVR system can be unhelpful and frustrating to the callers that use it. If customers' needs are not considered and respected, this indifference will result in an ill fitting automated speech response service network. Older individuals resent or shy away from giving responses to an automated system. This technology, even at best, is a far cry from the personal operators of their youth. In addition, individuals with severe speech impediments or peculiarities may find it difficult to be understood by the IVR application. However, if well designed, an IVR telephone application should work simply, quickly and efficiently. Moreover, most automated phone technology gives the caller the option to dial a living operator or leave a message at any point during the phone call.

VoIP Technology

With VoIP technology, consumers and businesses alike can utilize the Internet as the one source of all communication needs, including voice messaging, or telephony. Though originally Voice over Internet protocol did not meet it's original forecasted projections, it looks as if this technology is gaining in popularity and in use. There are good and solid reasons that this communication option should be considered by not only businesses, but by families and individual consumers, as well. With computers and the Internet now present in most every home and office, the voice to voice communication system online can be a reality that offers great communication choices.

New and improved, the amazing system of speaking from one computer to another is turning into a multi-billion dollar a year business. And, while the cell phone is still the number one choice of many, the cost factor that VoIP telephone service has going for it makes it one awesome option to be considered. Utilizing Voice over IP means having to have only one wiring system come into a home or business. Imagine starting up a new company in a new location and only having to wire for Internet. That's right, one Internet line can take care of all communication needs, including telephone, data exchanges, online faxing, and inter-office messaging. Computers can connect to computers around the world and cost much cheaper than a standard long-distance plan with traditional telephones or with roaming costs on cell phones. As long as there is an Internet connection available, VoIP technology may be utilized.

The way a voice may be transmitted over the Internet is through integrating voice traffic into a flow of data over a network, vocalizing over Internet connections, using a computer in place of a household or commercial traditional telephone system. When placing a call, the caller's voice is routed through all purpose packet-switched Internet network and the data is transferred. Now, telephone transmission lines can be replaced and a single source of transmission used. Voice and data can be transmitted through a multipurpose network with a VoIP Internet phone.

Obviously, VoIP technology is bringing extreme conveniences to businesses on the cutting edge of state-of-the-art technical advances. Applications that can be utilized include unified messaging, multi-media communication centers, and video conferencing. This could mean an international sales meeting with sales people from all over the world could be held at anytime, without anyone ever getting on an airplane! As more companies begin to implement the use of VoIP technology, the cost saving and innovative options become very attractive.

While the growth and popularity of Internet telephony is definitely increasing, some of the initial concerns associated with it have also mounted. Quality was initially a fairly low issue for anyone connecting overseas and paying just pennies to do so. But, with IP networks, data and voice can be routed through different paths and bandwidths. Also, real-time costs of global swapping between one carrier to another can cause major quality challenges. As the industry grows, consumers and businesses want quality voice transactions without interrupted service. There are hurdles to be conquered, yet.

Also, power source issues could arise with a single communication source for a home or business. Some have been critical of the new VoIP technology because it is dependent upon an electrical power origin. Should there be a power failure, for whatever reason, communications would be terminated. But, with the cellular telephone here to stay, proponents of Voice over IP are dismissing any concern at all. Battery back up, solar energy, and generators can also provide security in getting power to a computer in cases of emergencies.

There is amazing advancement being made throughout the world today. VoIP Internet phone systems, globalized commerce markets, and data exchanges through the earth remind believers that God's plans truly do include people from all nations. "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." (Revelations 7:9-10). What a glorious time to be alive and witness the age of Christ's work in joining believers together in purpose and heart across the globe.

When a family or business venture is interested in using VoIP Internet phone services, it will be wise to first conduct a little research into the providers. Not all services have the same quality control and there are still bugs to be worked out within the industry. It may be a good idea to speak with a home or business that is already utilizing VoIP Internet phone communications and get recommendations. But, there is no doubt, the fantastic technology is here to stay and bringing about great change in the way America communicates within her borders and with the world.

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