Nepal is a landlocked country sandwiched between worlds two most populous countries China and India which fondly calls itself at the top of the world as Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world, lies in its territory.
Nepal Telecom ( NTC ) is the state run telecom service provider in Nepal which has more than 6million GSM subscribers and landline number less than 7000. Nepal has total population of around 26.6million with many Nepalis citizens living outside Nepal.
IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) System is a very new concept here where people are aware about achine voice that greets when they call up customer service centre of NCELL, NTC’s GSM service brand. Apart from that people seem to know about “auto receptionist” service in EPABX system which are in some government offices and other business houses.
Not many people are aware of PRI lines though many offices have hunting facility with 2 to 10 lines. While interacting with NTC officials, I found out that they have not provided hardly few PRI lines to some foreign embassies or couple of international airline offices.
VAS ( Value Added Service) seems to be mature here too with CRBT and other SMS based services available to GSM subscribers. Bulk SMS Services are also available and one may get many promotional SMS.
So, IVR is completely new concept and I could not find any IVR company in Nepal. But I think, Nepal is now ready for IVR, specially in its hospitality industry. Nepal gets many tourists here for climbing mountains, trekking and other adventure sports. The capital and most populous city in Nepal, Kathmndu valley has many hotels and many use it as base camp to climb Himalaya mountain, has population of almost 4million.
After spending time with many hoteliers, business houses, I think, few IVR services are required here and will be popular among hospitality industries. Here are they :-
1. Virtual Receptionist
People were quite enthusiastic about virtual Receptionist concept and if some one provide hosted service, I think it will become popular.
2. IVR for providing information
Schools, business houses are looking for technologies to automate access of information by their clients. For example, schools and colleges were enthusiastic about using IVR to provide information to students and their parents.
3. Bulk voice Call
As bulk SMS service is already popular, people are looking for bulk voice calls too. I found many positive responses about it. Many people suggested to me about its benefit how receipt of message could be confirmed by call status/duration report. I was impressed.
So, I think Nepal is now ready for IVR services and it may be small market in comparison to its giant neighbors. But Nepalis seem to be honest and willing to pay for experiments. They also seem to be receptive to new ideas.
If you are a hosted IVR service provider, Nepal is virgin market for you!