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Asher IVRIVR FAQ and Glossary
IVR Capability FAQs

Typical Client Questions

A Quick Glossary of IVR Terms

Telephony Acronym Glossary


IVR Capability FAQs


  • What is Interactive Voice Response?
  • What Can You Do With Interactive Voice Response?
  • Why Use Interactive Voice Response?

What is Interactive Voice Response?

IVR provides automated access to information and services over the phone. It integrates a company's telephone and computer system to become a voice computer that transforms the caller's telephone into a terminal capable of directly accessing information and services. IVR answers inquiries by prompting callers to input data onto the touchtone keypad, looking up the record in a database and speaking back information. It can also ask the caller for information, accept the answers as they are entered on the keypad and store the information in a database. Being a voice computer, an IVR system is capable of many-advanced transaction processing tasks.

What Can You Do With Interactive Voice Response?

Most people are familiar with bank-by-phone systems, but IVR technology can be used in almost any company that must service a large number of callers. It is the specific application programming that guides how the customer and company interact. With it, banks can provide detailed account information after the caller enters their account number, insurance companies can speak back the status of a specific claim number and a catalog company can register a customer's purchase after the caller enters his account number and item codes.

Why Use Interactive Voice Response?

The ramifications of employing IVR can be felt throughout an organization. Foremost is the competitive advantage to be gained by providing superior customer service. IVR automation provides fast accurate answers to caller inquiries 24 hours a day. By offloading a majority of calls to the IVR system, the company reduces the burden on skilled personnel, reserving them for callers that need their attention. Employees are more productive and the company is able to significantly reduce overhead and expenses.

  • Financial Services Account balance and history, funds transfer, bill payment, interest rate inquiries, loan payment calculators, loan applications, credit card activation, branch/ATM locator
  • Healthcare Claims inquiry, eligibility inquiry, open enrollment, physician referral, test results reporting, facility and patient scheduling, pre-admission certification
  • Insurance Claims inquiry, policy inquiry, loan applications, rate calculators, agent locators
  • Retailers, Manufacturers Account inquiry, order status inquiry, order entry, locator, inventory inquiry, pricing information, literature requests
  • Utilities Billing inquiry, outage reporting, emergency notification, collections notification, service on/off scheduling
  • Government Tax refund status, tax filing, ticket inquires and payments, assessor inquiries
  • Human Resources Benefits status, open enrollment, training registration, time and job reporting, job postings
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Typical Client Questions


Q:My company receives a large volume of phone calls that are currently answered by telephone operators. Many of these calls are of a simple question and answer format. How can Asher IVR automate the processing of these calls releasing my staff to handle more complex customer support issues?
A:Asher IVR will work with you to identify the best manner to automate your customer service calls using Interactive Voice Response technology. The actual system functionality and capacity requirements will be identified and the benefits of implementing a new system documented.

Q:Once we identify how the IVR services are going to reduce my costs and improve my customer service, what will be Asher�s role in the system implementation?
A:Because Asher IVR�s are supplied as ASP implementations all of the development, maintenance and fulfillment activities are the sole responsibility of Asher.

Q:What are my responsibilities?
A:The client is responsible to maintain and provide access to any databases required by the IVR Application. Additionally, the client is responsible for the content of messages for outbound applications.

Q:What if I want changes to the existing software, can I make them myself or will Asher take care of that for me?
A:Asher IVR will make all software changes. All software changes are initiated in accordance with Asher change procedures and implemented by Asher IVR.

Q:How can you maintain my system remotely?
A:Asher IVR applications are custom developed to meet specific client requirements. Remote maintenance is normally accomplished either by telephonic or Internet interfaces. The individual application requirements will dictate the most efficient manner.

Q:What if I want to expand my system capacity?
A:Because Asher IVR is an ASP implementation it offers virtually infinite scalability.

Q:What is the investment required?
A:Implementation prices are based on system capacity and application complexity. Fulfillment service are billed either on a per transaction fee or connect time basis.

Q:Where can I find out more information?
A:Check out the contact page of our site, send us an email, or give us a call at 585.586.0020 and ask for IVR Sales.


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A Quick Glossary of IVR Terms


IVR (Interactive Voice Response)These menu driven systems allow you to navigate through options allowing you to listen to various announcements and sometimes give you the opportunity to leave voice mail and/or send and receive faxes.
PBX (Public branch exchange)Solutions for larger businesses where a large number of connections can be pooled into a single incoming and outgoing line (usually a T1).
CENTREXLike a PBX system except that it is managed at the Telco�s site. Centrex services usually provide fancy features such as voice mail and call forwarding. A lot of business lines in large North American cities are on some kind of Centrex system.
TAPIThis is a standard suite of functions developed by Microsoft, which allows programmers to control modems and communications ports. Several TAPI applications can run simultaneously (no more hogging the com port!)
MAPIThis is a suite of messaging functions which to send e-mail messages and faxes. MAPI can also be used to retrieve messages from the InBox and OutBox.
ASRAutomatic Speech Recognition. This is the technology that allows the IVR to understand spoken words instead of just touch-tone commands. Speech is a much more natural way for people to interact, however, it poses many challenges when used in an IVR. The ability to distinguish words despite a person's accent or dialect presents a well known challenge. Similarly, the ability to recognize a wide variety of phrases to say the same thing introduces complexities in a telephone company grade speech application.

Fortunately, with Asher's technical and business development staff at your service, you can have the benefits of ASR and avoid the troubles - today.

TTSText-To-Speech. This technology allows the IVR to speak words from a file or a database. It is similar to the technology used to have a computer 'read' a book aloud. It does not require anyone to pre-record what it will say. The text it speaks may come from almost anywhere- such as an email message, a web page, or an instruction manual.

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Telephony Acronym Glossary


ACDAutomatic Call Distributor
ADSLAsymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line
ADPCMAdaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation
ADSIAnalogue Display Services Interface
APIApplication Programming Interface
ASPApplication Service Provider
ASRAutomatic Speech Recognition
B2BBusiness To Business
BRIBasic Rate Interface
CASChannel Associated Signaling
CLECCompetitive Local Exchange Carrier
CLICalling Line Identity
CMPComputer Mediated Telephony
CPECustomer Premises Equipment
CRMCustomer Relationship Management
CSICalled Subscriber Identifier
CTIComputer Telephony Integration
DASS2Digital Access Signaling System No.2
DDEDynamic Data Exchange
DDIDirect Dialing Inward
DECTDigital European Cordless Telecommunications
DIDDirect Inward Dialing
DNISDialed Number Identification Service
DPNSSDigital Private Network Signaling System
DRTVDirect Response TV
DSLDigital Subscriber Line
DSPDigital Signal Processor
DTMFDual Tone Multi-Frequency
DTNDeliver-To Number
E-1Digital Signaling Protocol
FoIPFax Over Internet Protocol
GUIGraphical User Interface
ICTInformation Communications & Technology
INIntelligent Network
IPInternet Protocol
ITInformation Technology
IPRSInternational Premium Rate Service
ISAIndustry Standard Architecture
ISDNIntegrated Services Digital Network
ITSPInternet Telephony Service Provider
IVRInteractive Voice Response
LANLocal Area Network
MFMulti-Frequency
MVIPMulti-Vendor Integration Protocol
NGNNext Generation Network
NSPNetwork Service Provider
NUNumber Un-obtainable
ODBCOpen DataBase Connectivity
PBXPrivate Branch Exchange
PCMPulse Code Modulation
POTSPlain Old Telephone Services
PRIPrimary Rate Interface
PRSPremium Rate Service
PSBPacket Switched Back plane
PSTNPublic Switched Telephone Network
Q-931ISDN Signaling Protocol
SAPISpeech Application Programming Interface
SDSLSymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line
SIRSpeaker Independent Recognition
SITSpecial Information Tone
SMSShort Messaging Service
SONETSynchronous Optical Network
SoHoSmall Office/Home Office
SS7 or C7Signaling Scheme No.7
SQLStructured Query Language
T-1Digital Signaling Protocol
TAPITelephony Application Programming Interface
TCP/IPTransmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
TSDPTelephony Service Delivery Platform
TTSText-To-Speech
UFNUniversal Free phone Number
UMUnified Messaging
VARValue Added Reseller
VOSVoice Operated Switch
VoFRVoice Over Frame Relay
VoIPVoice Over Internet Protocol
VPNVirtual Private Network
VRUVoice Response Unit
VXMLVoice Extensible Markup Language
WANWide Area Network
WAPWireless Application Protocol
WLANWireless Local Area Network
WMLWireless Markup Language

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