voice xml ivr service
      Database Systems Corp. BBB Business Review
   IVR AND VOICE BROADCASTING SERVICES AND SYSTEMS Home  |   Contact Us  |   About Us  |   Sign Up  |   FAQ

ivr software applications


Virtual ACD Software
IVR Zip Code Locator
IVR Vendors
Answering Systems
IVR Solutions
IVR Service
IVR Systems
IVR Development Systems
IVR Programming
IVR Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Toll Free Services
Telephone Answering Service
800 Number Services
Voice Messaging Systems

ivr software applications

Website Information

IVR Software
Hosted IVR
IVR Hosting

IVR systems interactive voice response

Custom IVR Applications

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Development and custom IVR software and products. Business phone systems and toll free answering systems (generally 800 numbers and their equivalent) are very popular for service and sales organizations, allowing customers and prospects to call your organization anywhere in the country. The PACER and WIZARD IVR System is just one of many DSC call center phone system features..

What Is IVR?. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes inbound phone calls, plays recorded messages including information extracted from databases and the internet, and potentially routes calls to either inhouse service agents or transfers the caller to an outside extension.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.

IVR: Talking to customers the automatic way

By Tracey Drury
Business First

Most people have had some interaction with an IVR system, though they may not know it.

That's a problem for people like Bob Highway, whose company sells the service.

"People don't really understand what this technology is and if they don't understand it, they don't know how they can take advantage of it in their business," said Highway, president of IVR Technology Group in Amherst.

Interactive Voice Response is any system that uses a database of recorded voice messages to give the caller options, usually over phone lines. We've all used it at one time or another with voice mail, and most of us have used it to access bank account information over the phone.

But the technology also has applications in the customer service and customer satisfaction arena, providing a method for any business to keep in touch with its customers with minimal human interaction. Other applications include speech recognition, order fulfillment, polling and market research and public service announcements.

Unknown by name

Despite its prevalence in our lives, most people don't recognize what IVR is by name.

"It's still pretty new to people," Highway said. "Once they realize what it is, I get their interest. That's really the trick."

Highway has made a career out of IVR. He was one of the founders in 1995 of IVR in Williamsville, which was bought out in 2001 by a French company that later changed the company's name to Prosodie Interactive. He started the new company in January and has plans to focus on the local market. Other than the two companies, there's very little competition in the market.

"It's a very unique market. Most of the players gear toward vertical markets," he said.

Other than for voice mail, here are some examples of how Highway's IVR company's software is used:

  • Job interviews. Applicants call a number and answer pre-screening employment questions, such as how old they are, whether they have a high school diploma, etc.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys. After someone buys a car, for example, they are asked to report their experience to a toll-free number. Because someone at the dealership receives a near-instant report, he can respond immediately to areas of concern.
The system can do much more than just record answers, however. The answers tell the computer whether it should move to the next level of questions. At the end of the call, the computer automatically generates a report for the company that requires no human transcription.

Recognizing speech

The next step in IVR is speech recognition, which allows companies to do audio mining and content mining to index the language spoken in calls and run an analysis, said Judith Markowitz, a Chicago-based analyst and consultant.

"This is something that is just beginning and is not widely deployed that goes beyond the words themselves to the relationships," said Markowitz, associate editor of Speech Technology Magazine and editor/publisher of Voice ID Quarterly.

These types of technology are especially helpful legally if a call center employee is required to say certain things during a call, or more importantly, required not to say certain things.

Speech recognition has been used for a number of years and is getting to be fairly popular as a replacement for or enhancement for touch tone," she said.

These types of systems, most common in IVR applications, allow both automated systems or voice interaction instead of touch tone and allow much greater flexibility.

"That's where people are making a lot of quick ROI in terms of automation because the speech is remarkably cheaper than a human being and unless it's designed badly, which it can be, it's friendlier and more flexible and more powerful than touch tone," Markowitz said.

IVR technology that incorporates speech recognition, then uses software to report what has been said, is reaching greater commercialization, but still many people don't know about it. It's bound to get even better as time goes on, she said.

"It's not as powerful as it could ultimately be, but certainly it's far superior than forcing an agent to try to remember what happened and write down and write accurately what happened and what the call was actually about," she said.

Making systems affordable

Prosodie Interactive has used an ASP model to provide services to its customers, said Mike Duff, vice president of IVR operations at the Williamsville company,.

"We provide customer turnkey solutions," he said.

Though many of the company's customers are out of the area, there are several local customers ranging from small to medium to medium to large firms that use the technology for different projects.

"A lot is CRM - customer relationship management - and may involve product fulfillment or product information and dissemination, customer satisfaction surveys and just about anything you can imagine that involves the Internet, telephony and computers," Duff said. "We'll combine those three elements to create a mix to satisfy the customers' specific needs."

Using the ASP model, he said, allows small businesses to enter the technology at a much lower price point since they don't have to install or maintain the infrastructure.

Custom applications

While plenty of large companies, such as banks, brokerage companies and pharmacy chains, have their own IVR systems in place, it's not necessarily an investment that a small business is ready or able to take on. That's exactly the market Highway hopes to target with his business.

IVR Technology Group hosts all the calls on its own equipment at its Amherst data center, reducing start-up costs for a company from $150,000 to $10,000 or less.

"I'm a custom IVR service bureau," he said. "People come to me and want to accomplish a task on an automated basis."

A good example is a company that is looking for people to sell or deliver its product to a wider audience so they publish a toll-free number in advertisements for people to call for more information. Sometimes callers are prompted to leave their number or address to receive information. Highway's staff would transcribe the information, or use a basic speech recognition program to create a report.

"I host it at my site so there's no capital expense whatsoever. That's a big advantage," he said. "It's totally hands-free. They don't have to worry about telecommunication facilities, staff - it's all supplied to them."

Ronco Communications & Electronics Inc. sells IVR hardware systems including the Nortel periphonics portfolio of products. These systems, long used by companies like FedEx, American Airlines and other major companies, are now available for smaller users with an entry level system of hardware and software starting around $75,000, said Reed Sutton Wilson, vice president for professional services.

"They've spun it down to be affordable for smaller users," he said. "Before, it was a quarter million up to $500,000. It opens up some market spaces."

But there's also room in the market for a company like IVR Technology Group to offer small businesses an option somewhat comparable to an application service provider or ASP.

"There's no doubt the concept of an application service provider sits well in that space. It's an interesting niche," Wilson said. "You fill out forms with prompting and there's no impact on hardware. It's basically a 100 percent service."

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our IVR services and IVR application development software.