IVR technology is best used to complete tasks that are repetitious and handled by one or more individuals. The most common deployment of IVR technology is Touch Tone Banking. The use of web based applications to collect data has far surpassed IVR deployments, but because of the universal use of telephones and the fact that phone coverage is much better than internet coverage, IVR is an important tool to consider. Areas where an IVR might be considered useful are routing calls to a destination by zip code, area code, office code prefix, filling out survey’s, or notifying large groups of people of an event (Phone Tree).
The best uses of this technology are typically not invented by those of us in the telephony marketplace, but by managers working to cut costs by making their workforce more efficient. An IVR can eliminate repetitious tasks, making more time for your employees to handle other tasks. The best way for a manager to consider if this technology is going to be helpful is to think of an IVR as a telephony interface to your data, similar to deploying a Web interface to your data (Web Site). Next, look around your business and watch what your employees are doing over and over again on the telephone. What data are they collecting from your customers? Is that data being looked up frequently? How much time is it taking your staff? Could your staff be doing something more productive with that time? If the answers are yes, then consider deploying IVR technology.
There are many redundant IP/PBX’s available in the marketplace. For this article redundancy will be defined as if VoIP controller A fails, then call control is taken over by VoIP controller B. This solution fails to address the cause of an estimated 90% of business telephone outages.
A typical telephone system installation provides an ideal environment for electronic equipment; climate controlled, conditioned power, along with a consistent humidity. This type of installation contributes to premise based telephony equipments typical 99.999% uptime. Contrast that environment with the last mile of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Temperatures vary more than 100 degrees; humidity varies more than 90%, harsh solar radiation pounds on the infrastructure daily while rodents, backhoes and automobiles all do their part to sever the connection. It’s plain to see why the last mile of the PSTN is the cause of so many failures and not the premise based IP/PBX.
What is the solution to 90% of telephone service outages? First, no amount of premise based redundancy is going to help if the call never gets to your office’s telephone system. The solution relies with a flexible carrier. One of two things happens on a Business Telephone system within the first 24 Seconds of a call: a person answers the call or voice mail answers the call. If neither happens within the allotted time then the call needs to forward to another telephone number. This simple feature is called “No Answer, Call Forward”. That second number can be a set of backup trunks on premise, another number at a separate corporate office, a cellular telephone, or even answering service. Since this forwarding happens on every inbound call that does not get answered in 24 seconds time, as soon as the service is repaired your calls will begin to be answered normally.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further options please feel free to contact me
Craig Hodges, Telecom Amb.