What is IVR short code ?
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) short code can be defined as special telephone number which has ‘less’ digits in it than traditional full length telephone number. This kind of special ‘short code’ are mainly used for special purposes like customer care for telephone/mobile subscribers, VAS ( Value Added Service) access either SMS/MMS ( Short Messaging Service/Multimedia Messaging Service) or IVR based, public utility services etc.
With recent ‘VAS boom’ all around the world in telephone and mobile industry, short-code has become quite well known and many people want to ‘have’ it! While, short code is nothing but telephone number with less number of digits in it, it has become very special special as it is always associated with some special service as well as special charging for calling to it! For any VAS short code, it is charged premium while for any customer care service, it is free of charge for the caller.
Different countries have different policies about short code used for IVR access or SMS/MMS access. Normally any short-code has length of 5 digits and can have customisable suffix for specific service.
Advantages of a short-code
Short codes work as just like any telephone/mobile number. But the main advantage is, it is short so it is easy to remember.
Customer Care numbers are widely publicised by telephone companies and these short codes grow to become brand for any telecom company. Likewise, value added service providers also build their brand around the short-code for the services they provide and try to make them popular. For example, 56969 is SMS as well as IVR shortcode for Rajasthan Patrika Pvt. Ltd. in India which offers many value added SMS and IVR services through this short-code.
Apart from being short, these short-code also tend to be vanity number. For example 58888, 56969, 54321 which have some interesting pattern and easy to remember.
Sine it is short number, it is faster to dial or send SMS. Apart from advantages of being short and faster to dial, I could not think of any other advantages. Many people may think short code as vanity number and associate it with pride.
Disadvantages of Short Code
The main disadvantage of short-codes is it is completely telecom company dependent. Shortcodes are accessible within the home network only. In order to make the short-code accessible in all operators across the country, the short code needs to be configured in all the operators. For example, the short code 56969, it is registered by Rajasthan Patrika Pvt. Ltd. in all mobile operators in India in every circle. That is why it is available in all networks in India. This activity of registering the shortcode in all operators ( in India, we have more than 12 mobile operators) and the allocating software as well as hardware resources to for connectivity to each of them is quite cumbersome and time consuming affair. Most of the time, mobile operators may not allocate the desired short code or simply refuse to allocate one.
But a long code or traditional phone number is accessible by all telecom subscribers without having to register with multiple telecom operators.
Normally, apart from the short codes used for customer care services, all other short codes are used for value added services and so charged premium. The revenue generated are shared by telecom operator and the value added service providers.
Short code for IVR
Short codes are being used IVR portals ( popularly known as voice portal) which provide many value added services or utility services. Popular TV reality shows, Contests generate lot of revenues from this kind of IVR short codes from participants. But this kind of short-code would be accessible across country and all telecom networks only when the short-code is registered with all telecom operators. This need huge initial investment in terms of hardware and software as well as recurring expenses.
So, those who do not want to invest more initially and start any IVR service quickly, they may opt for long code or normal telephone number with E1 connectivity form single operator. It may not be possible to charge callers premium and work like a VAS to generate revenue.