IVR as competition to multiple SIM Mobile Phones

In old days, people used to have visiting cards with a telephone number with PP written next to it, in India. While I am not sure what this PP actually stands for, but it meant that, the person may not pick up the phone, but can be reached if h/her name was told and asked to come to the phone.

And now days have when, when people carry a mobile phone with multiple SIM cards or multiple Mobile Numbers! With advent and penetration of Mobile phones, getting a personal phone number has become the easiest thing, where most of the time, the SIM card and number can be purchased with less than a dollar in India.

And with low cost Chinese phone with facility to put multiple SIM in single mobile phone, people started carrying multiple mobile number. And even high end Smatphones now a days have facility to put more than one phone, more reason to get multiple mobile numbers!
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IVVR : Failed to make any impact in India ?

Few years ago, IVVR ( Interactive Voice And Video Response) System was thought to be the next technology which may revolutionise the mobile entertainment industry! But, today, IVVR is not even heard anywhere in India and nobody talks about it anymore. Even IVR or CRBT ( Caller Ring back Tone) are not discussed anymore. Everybody seems to be discussing about Cloud Telephony as well as hosted IVR services. There are reports that even telecom operators are trying to provide hosted IVR services for corporates. Almost all major VAS ( Value Added Service) providers are moving towards cloud telephony to provide corporate IVR services.

So, what went wrong with IVVR in India ?

While IVVR sounds good on paper, in India there were many practical difficulties.

1. Mobile Network Speed
While it has been many years in India 3G has been launched, it was only in metro cities where it worked well and many smaller cities or towns were not covered with 3G networks.
Even areas where 3G were available, there was many complaints about its speed. So, even the enthusiasts were not satisfied with video calls, let alone use applications on IVVR!
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IVR For Small Business

IVR For Small Business
IVR system in an office is considered for big businesses which get hundreds of calls that requires automation. This perception is changing with increasing competition among small businesses. While automating calls is one part, but answering call to every incoming calls to a business is important for the business.

So, IVR for small business is also an essential requirement now a days which should work 24 hours a day. It should at least receive a call even during non-office hours and store the information so that some one can respond to that call in next office hours.

How IVR for small business should work ?

IVR for small business should work just like any other IVR system. While it may have fewer menu options unlike IVR for big businesses, or self service IVR, it still should have few essential features as below :-
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Is IVR pricing right in India?

I often hear about how IVR solutions are priced high by customers and while I get to hear about how IVR solutions are priced low by representatives from IVR Companies. I also get to hear that, thanks to many low cost CTI boards from China, there is no ‘margin’ in selling CTI boards.

As IVR solutions have moved from on-premise to Hosted IVR Service in a cloud, there has been lot of competition among hosted IVR service providers.

I think, IVR solution pricing is not right in India. IVR is has wide application across industries to automate voice communication. It can also act as lead capturing, lead authenticate tool. But I feel, most of the time, IVR solutions are priced as a product based solely on input costs like CTI cards, PRI lines, IVR software, bandwidth instead of its utility and how it can generate revenue for an organisation.
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Dynamic Menu in IVR Systems

Normally, every IVR has menus to guide a caller through its options to get required information or browse through to reach a human agent. These menus are normally short, specific to caller requirement as the IVR system is intended for. While many IVR has fixed menus, “Dynamic IVR Menu” can be used to increase better caller experience while using an IVR Syestem.

What is Dynamic Menu
Dynamic IVR Menu can be defined as menus that changes as per information provided by the caller. The very first information a caller provides is its caller id. Using this information IVR can retrieve many information of the caller. For example, it can retrieve if the caller is an existing customer, if he has called earlier if he has some pending complaints etc.
With these kind of information, the menu of the IVR could be changed to address the concerns of the caller much faster and better way.
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Large IVR Design Consideration

There are some IVR application which can be really large, catering to millions of daily callers. For example, any utility service like Gas Cylinder Booking System, Customer Care for nationalised banks etc. Normally, these services are controlled by one large organization centrally via huge network of branch offices, distributor/dealer network across length and breadth of a country.

So, designing and implementing a self service IVR for booking of gas cylinder may pose a big challenge while deciding a solution architecture.

For a large country like India, self service Gas Booking IVR is quite a challenge.

For example :-

It might be difficult to decide upon either using centralised IVR system catering to whole country or distributed or separate IVR system at different zones ( North, South East or West) might itself be quite difficult. While both architecture have advantages or disadvantages. Centralised IVR system will offer better utilisation of resources as well as maintenance, but distributed IVR systems may offer more uptime. Maintaining IVR systems in large geographical area may require big human resources.
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IVR for Online Classified Website

Online free Classified Websites allow anyone to post free advertisement to sell their goods, both old or new, services. OLX.IN is example of such website which is a free online platform of classifieds. It is a worldwide web which is currently working in India, and it offers a wide range of services, from education and jobs , the buying and selling of all type of products. They even have property section like flats in India in its category of classified listing! OLX is the next generation of free online classifieds.

IVR System can really help such online classified websites where some people may want to list their products in such websites and be connected instantly. Website owner can charge premium for such listing of products.

How IVR can help

Click To Call is a IVR service which can really be helpful for people who list their products for sale. Many buyer would prefer to speak to the seller instantly. While seller can surely give out his number in the listing, but click to call service would provide him a online MIS reporting system which is very useful.
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