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Realizing information systems

Unified Messaging offers solutions for IVR

by Iris Walter | serVonic GmbH | Public Relations


Although a lot of companies provide customers and potential customers with information like e.g. information about tariffs, flight data and order status more and more via the Internet, the telephone is still the number one means of information in this field. A telephone is available in almost every household and can be handled very easily. As many telephonic requests are of the same kind, more and more companies extend the personal telephone contact by so-called IVR-systems. The calls are accepted here and answered automatically. Apart from the implementation of sheer IVR-systems, some unified messaging solutions offers realization possibilities here.


What is an IVR-system? Advantages for companies and customers

IVR-systems offer companies the possibility to provide customers and potential customers with information via the telephone in a automated way. IVR means Interactive Voice Response. The customer or potential customer calls and receives the wanted information interactively, e.g. a tariff information or the status of an order. The output of the information is dynamic and automated according to predefined processes. Depending on the choice of the caller, e.g. a data base query for the authentication or for the search for the suitable order number is done in the server system. IVR-systems are applied in almost any kind of industry: Whether time table information, flight arrivals and departure, event dates for theater or cinema, the status of orders or repairs or the participation in raffles – the fields of application are inexhaustible. Especially for companies with a high volume in telephonic requests, IVR-systems offer a reasonable enhancement of the direct phone contact. That way, a well thought-out IVR-system contributes to a high customer satisfaction, because the information normally can be retrieved 24 hours, 7 days a week and the caller gets the needed information immediately instead of waiting in the queue, for example. Furthermore, IVR-systems can be realized with relatively low labor utilization. This not only saves money for the company, but also relieves the employees from routine jobs so that they can take care of other tasks.

The IXI-UMS Unified Messaging Server is the link between PSTN and web server-application at the company. The communication is realized via VoxML-documents

Technical realization – IVR-systems on the basis of unified messaging solutions

Unified messaging usually is a concept for the organizational structure and allows unifying all sorts of messages – E-Mail, Fax, Voice and SMS – within one user interface. The PC becomes the universal device for the user. All the messages are handled via one single integrated server-based platform. Some unified messaging solutions like e.g. IXI-UMS from serVonic offer the possibility to set up also automated information systems for telephonic requests besides the conventional unified messaging. Basis for the realization of such an information system is VoxML - Voice Extensible Markup Language. As XML-based description language, VoxML enables a web server-based implementation of voice dialogue applications. The unified messaging solution serves as link between PSTN and application logic. If the UM-solution here is based in standards such as ISDN, CAPI, H.323 or SIP, it can collaborate with all the common PBX’s – conventional or IP-based. When a customer for example asks for the delivery status of his order by telephone, the unified messaging system from serVonic automatically accesses the respective web server-application via HTTP. The customer can retrieve the wanted information by means of IVR. According to the result of the data base query by SQL, the web server-application creates a VoxML-document with the information about the delivery status of the order. The unified messaging solution interprets the VoxML-document and informs the customer by voice. Two options are available here: The information can be retrieved either via deposited voice modules or by TTS – Text to Speech. Depending on the installation, the information can also be transmitted by e-mail, fax or SMS.

Conclusion

For companies with a high volume of telephonic requests, IVR-systems contribute to cost-savings, increased customer retention, better information flow and relief of routine jobs. If the IVR-system is realized in combination with a unified messaging solution, different requirements – conventional unified messaging and telephonic information system – can be fulfilled with only one system.

Copyright: serVonic GmbH
As of: 12.01.2007

Information

Find more information on the realisation of IVR systems with IXI-UMS here.

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Iris Walter
+49 8142 4799-29

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