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What is IVR - Interactive Voice Response?


Historically, interactive voice response (IVR) solutions have used pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to present information and options to callers, and touch-tone telephone keypad entry to gather responses. Modern IVR solutions also enable input and responses to be gathered via spoken words with voice recognition. IVR solutions enable users to retrieve information including bank balances, flight schedules, product details, order status, movie show times, and more from any telephone. Additionally, IVR solutions are increasingly used to place outbound calls to deliver or gather information for appointments, past due bills, and other time critical events and activities.

Enterprise IVR

To deliver and properly leverage an IVR solution successfully, an enterprise needs to consider the following:

IVR Platforms

IVR platforms are the “server and operating system” hardware and software platforms on which IVR solutions run.

IVR platforms at a minimum provide the ability to play and record prompts and gather touch-tone input. IVR platforms may also offer the ability to recognize spoken input from callers (voice recognition), translate text into spoken output for callers (text-to-speech), and transfer IVR calls to any telephone or call center agent.

IVR Applications

IVR applications are programs that control and respond to calls on the IVR platform. IVR applications can either be developed by an enterprise, by an IVR development shop, or by companies that offer canned IVR applications.

IVR applications direct the IVR platform to prompt callers, gather input, and transfer callers to other phones. IVR applications also call on existing back-end database and application servers to retrieve records and information required during the course of a call.

Data Integrations

Customer or corporate data that must be integrated with the IVR system to provide accurate and personalized service may include databases, mainframes, application servers, and third party information services and solutions.

Telephony Infrastructure

Telephony infrastructure includes telephone lines, call switching equipment, and call center Automatic Call Distributors (ACDs).

Telephone lines for IVR can be standard analog lines, digital T1, or digital ISDN lines. These lines are connected on one side to the IVR platform and, on the other, to call switching equipment including Telco switches, Voice over IP gateways, and corporate PBX’s; or in some cases, directly to call centers via an ACD.

IVR Experts

Best-in-class hardware and IVR software

are only the foundation. A team of IVR experts is needed to best leverage this platform to address customer needs, streamline development and control operational costs.

This team should include employees and consultants who know IVR technology and challenges well. Ideally, IVR teams should include one or more members who have experience with IVR integration, configuration, reliability and redundancy, application development, and IVR solution deployment management.

Enterprise IVR and Aspect

Our Advanced Voice Portal (AVP) IVR Platform is an open, proven IVR platform that delivers the reliability and flexibility required by the most demanding IVR applications. Unlike traditional, proprietary IVR platforms, our platform is based entirely on open Web and IP standards.

The AVP platform can be deployed on-premise at your location, or securely hosted in the Aspect Cloud (link).

With our platform, IVR applications can be developed quickly and easily. Again, unlike proprietary IVR platforms, our platform uses VoiceXML and CCXML markup – much like the HTML markup found on every Web site – to deliver robust IVR applications that leverage your existing web infrastructure and experience. Alternatively, you may choose to take advantage of professional services from our network of partners to develop your IVR application for you.

Because our IVR platform takes advantage of existing Web infrastructure and experience, you can re-leverage the work most enterprises have done to integrate the widest variety of back-end systems into Web application infrastructure.

And if you haven’t deployed web solutions yet, you can leverage the Web industry’s multi-billion dollar investment in web integration technology.

Our platform works seamlessly with Telco switches, enterprise PBXs, Voice over IP deployments, and call centers via digital T1 and ISDN lines, SIP VoIP, and integrates with most leading call center platforms.

If you prefer a hosted solution deployed on reliable and scalable telephony infrastructure, we’ve pre-deployed thousands of lines and hundreds of servers so you can avoid the headaches of premise implementations.

Our team includes many of the most experienced, standards-centric IVR experts in the world. Voxeo was the first company to bring enterprise VoiceXML and CCXML IVR application hosting to market. Our support team knows our platform inside and out, and will answer your questions in minutes to hours instead of days to weeks.

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