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CRBT (Caller ring back tone), also popular as “Hello Tunes” in India, has generated almost 25% of total VAS ( Value Added Service) revenues. This kind of revenue pattern is same worldwide where CRBT has been a major revenue earner for any telephone service provider in its VAS portfolio.

So, what is the next of CRBT ?

If one observes closely about this music or song in mobile industry, one will observe certain trends. Here is how it worked.

Ring tone :
First, popular songs were used a ring tone which was played in the mobile handset as soon as any incoming call came. Not too distant in the past, it was a major revenue source for all involved in it, music producer, Mobile Phone service provider and VAS provider. But with lowering cost of high end mobile phone with MP3 players, and Blue Tooth enabled Mobile phone with easy computer connectivity has almost wiped out Mono Ring Tone from the market. Now, mono ring tones are heard only in very low cost mobile handsets.
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How to choose IVR Solution

Recently, I have been getting many messages from this IVR blog visitors asking how to choose right IVR system for their organisation. While majority of the people who asked wanted to automate their customer service process, they have one common requirement, minimum initial investment possible!

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Systems are available in two ‘forms’, hosted IVR and On Premise IVR. Choosing right IVR solution among these two types, may not be easy. I would try to document few points to consider between the two IVR types.

1. Cost of IVR system
Every IVR system has three cost components apart from general maintenance and up-gradation cost.

a. Cost of CTI hardware as well as Computer Systems
Normally this is fixed and one time cost unless some capacity enhancement is required in future. There are many options for CTI boards now a days, low cost and high cost. For example, Synway, Sangoma at the low cost end and Dialogic at the high cost end.

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VXML(Voice XML) is widely used by IVR users who prefer to host their voice applications with hosted IVR provider. Mostly, companies or organizations who want to have their complete control on the voice application and do not want to invest in CTI hardware and infrastructure of running a data center along with telephone lines.

In simple and plain language, VXML based applications remain at IVR user premise and hosted IVR system downloads VXML codes to its server and executes the codes. By this arrangement, VXML based voice applications remain at the control of the IVR user while users of that voice application call up hosted IVR number and avail the IVR service.

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IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system itself is new in India even after decade of high telecom growth and penetration. And hosted IVR was almost unknown in India till recently. But now, few companies have come up with hosted IVR solutions to cater to few specific IVR applications.

Till now, IVR systems were thought to be standalone, on premise CTI systems for answering customer calls and transfer calls to some department, record a complaint, announce train/flight status and schedule. But with increasing telecom density, both users and telecom providers have been pushing IVR companies to provide many utility services using telephone or mobiles. For example, making payment using IVR system, listening to music on voice portal etc.

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Clickcall.in has recently launched “Click To Call” service in India. It is hosted IVR solution where website owner can sign up, buy outgoing calls and then put a “Call Me Now” button on their website. Hosted IVR at the back of this “Click To Call” would make two outbound calls, one to the website visitor number and the to the “website number” which website owner can configure. Once both calls get connected, these two calls are bridged.

“Using the CLICK to CALL services one can host their own call center, without investing a single penny. Business Website can provide CLICKCALL service on their website, visitor of that website will enter his/her number and click on Call Me. Instantly a call will be setup between the visitor and the business executives. This service promises to convert the website visitors to future customers. Among the features of CLICKCALL, one can login to the website and assign different numbers for different services according to the dept. The best feature of CLICKCALL is one can use unlimited number of phone numbers.” Clickcall Press Release.

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One of the very important and widely used IVR application is scheduling of tasks or appointments. In a typical IVR assisted scheduling application uses both inbound and outbound IVR. Normally, inbound IVR is used to register a new appointment while outbound IVR is used for remainder or rescheduling of the appointment if any. Hospitals are using this kind of IVR system for confirming/rescheduling an appointment of patients while airlines are using outbound IVR to inform passengers about rescheduling of flights.

Patient Scheduling:

Patient scheduling is one important function which can be achieved by use of Intelligent IVR. And inbound IVR system is used for any new appointments. Usually, scheduling of an appointment is done by another scheduling application which decides time of appointment and IVR announces that time and then ask confirmation from caller to finalise and block the appointment time.

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We’ve all been stuck on the phone trying to get information from an automated telephone system in a battle against the machine that sometimes seems to be designed specifically to prevent us from finding what we’re looking for. While that almost certainly wasn’t the intent of the automated phone system, poor execution can leave a multitude of customers with a bad taste in their mouth.

A well designed IVR (Interactive Voice Response) phone system can be a valuable resource, but a poorly designed system will only reflect poorly on your organization’s communication and customer service. With that being said, here are a few pointers to help make sure you are designing a good call flow for your automated IVR system:
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Dialogic D/300 JCT-E1 is the entry level board for anyone who needs digital network interface with PSTN network as well as voice resources in the single board. I feel, D/300 board is most used entry

Dialogic D/300 Board

Dialogic D/300 JCT-E1 board

level CTI board for many high end, feature rich IVR applications like unified messaging system, Fax Server, Caller Ringback Tone, Speech enabled voice applications.

Features of Dialogic D/300 JCT-E1 board

1. Digital Network Interface

It has both E1(2.048MBPS) and T1(1.544 Mbps) support. It supports digital interface network protocols like ISDN PRI, R2MF. ISDN PRI is widely used protocol for connecting CTI board with PBX systems. With D/300 board, it is quite easy to configure it to work with many ISDN variants as per PBX from one country to another or manufacturer.

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Dialogic, the name that goes almost synonymous with IVR, has announced availability of the DiaStar™ Server, Release 2.0, as per their press release, Parsippany, NJ , USA.

Dialogic Diastar

Dialogic Diastar Release 2.0 Available now

Project DiaStar is open source project sponsored by Dialogic Corporation that gives access to Dialogic’s enhanced media and signaling functionality using Woomera protocol. The new release has features like :-

• Call Progress Analysis (CPA) Enhancements -User-Defined Tone Detection with detection results available in both Asterisk Dialplan and the Asterisk Manager Interface (AMI)
• Robust support of SIP Video from the Asterisk Dialplan, including:
o Play and Record Audio and Video
o H.263 Support
o MPEG4 Support
• Video Transcoding between H.263 and MPEG-4
• Video Transrating
• Video scaling to enable playback of video on different sized video screens
• SIGTRAN signaling support
• Native media bridging

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Everyone involved in IVR industry may have heard reasons why normal users, customers ‘hate’ using IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) Systems. There are many reasons why people hate using IVR and how IVR could be made more user-friendly with good VUI design practices. I thought I would update top five things about IVR that people hate about.

1. Duplicate Information

When customer calls to any call center looking for support, query etc., they are normally answered by IVR and customer needs to provide their information like phone number, account ID etc. ( depending on services they subscribe to). After all these ‘question-answer-round’ and agonising repeat-confirmation round by IVR, customer is finally connected to a CSR or human agent. But immediately, customer is asked the same questions which he had already answered to IVR!

Simple POP-UP screen at CSR dsktop is the solution and many call center do not use them and the customer ire falls on IVR!

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