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IVR systems interactive voice response

IVR Solutions

This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to IVR Development and custom IVR software and products. Business phone systems and auto attendant 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 Software?. An Interactive Voice Response (Interactive Voice Response (IVR)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.

Building User-Friendly Voice Systems
Page 5

Author: Tim Noonan B.A.


During initial system planning you should give as much thought as possible to potential future expansion. The types of menus, the way that you number choices and the terminology you use will all give you less or more potential to add in new modules at a later date. If you need to totally redesign the system when making extensions to it, you will definitely alienate many existing callers even if you add a lot more functionality in the process. Your investment in training and documentation will be incorrect and callers will make more errors as they try using the system in the old ways.

Upgrades to system functions often require you to make a trade-off between re-design with a more logical overall structure or adding in new facilities in less logical places, but which don't break with the existing menus and facilities. The latter approach is often more appropriate if you already have a large user base.

As has been discussed, the "voice" you select becomes an intrinsic part of the system and its user interface. Your callers will become accustomed to the attributes of the "voice" and will feel comfortable with it. If you need to update the system or make changes, it is critical that the system voice stays as constant as possible. You should prepare a contract with your announcer so that he or she will be available for future enhancements. A good example of this is the consistency and continuity of the "voice" of the Octel voicemail product, ASPEN.


Once your product has been released, aspects of the user interface are almost impossible to change without alienating or confusing users. Compared to other software products, IVR systems are a relatively new service on the market. Unstable IVR products will influence a caller's attitudes to all systems. Unreliability and immaturity can lead to people postponing or abandoning dealings with such services.

You also need to find out how people respond to the "voice" of the system, the terminology used and how they navigate the menu structures. Unlike many software beta testing programs, you need to get a diverse selection of callers to try out the system before making it publicly available. Be sure not only to select technically capable testers, as these are likely to be more familiar with IVR services and accordingly make fewer mistakes and do less "dumb" things.

Acceptance of your system by the broader base of callers will be determined largely by how gracefully your system handles the actions of the most naive user. As people working with and making a living from IVR services, the whole IVR industry needs to work to improve the overall quality and usefulness of such facilities. Presenting the public with a poorly tested system, or a system that is counter-intuitive to use, may do more harm than just loss of sales and customers; it may turn those callers away from using any IVR services at all.

All too often too much thought is given to what the system will do when presented with valid input, and too little thought given to what it should do if it does not get the tones and input it is expecting. Error handling is especially important when users are so diverse, and when the potential for misunderstanding is so great. Too often, even well established IVR systems leave callers in limbo; not knowing what to do next, or in doubt about how to extract themselves from a mis-keyed password or account number. Experienced users often know they have made an entry mistake, due to key-bounce or mis-keying, but are often left to guess whether they need to re-enter all their login details or just the last field.

IVR developments are having a dramatic impact on business, sales and communications. By incorporating these principles and by planning and testing your system thoroughly, you can establish a strong competitive advantage.

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Tim Noonan (B.A.) +61 2 9687 1112, runs SoftSpeak Computer Services - specialising in Interactive Voice Response (Interactive Voice Response (IVR)IVR) and Disability Technology.

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