What is call flow ?
Call flow is the options offered to caller by the IVR Application. When a caller calls to a IVR number, he is given various choices. After he chooses one option, he may be required to enter few more choices before he finally gets his required information. This complete call flow, right from the Welcome Prompt to the retrival of information and presentation can be presented in Flow Diagram in same as FlowChart for algorithm.
Importance of Call Flow
In my opinion, one should not even attempt to design IVR Application without finalising the call flow with the client. Changing Call flow may not only require changes in code, but also voice prompts! It may take time to record voice prompts, edit and test again. Many people do not like TTS ( Text-To-Speech) converter. So call flow finalisation is a must.
Customisation of IVR Application
Customisation of IVR Application is the design and finalisation of above call flow! The other technical integration like configuring CTI card, integrating with EPABX etc. are normally standard and same in all over the world. Also CTI vendors are quite prompt now a days in helping integrating their cards with different kind of exchanges. So, effectivily customisation comes down to only the customisation of call flow.
There may not be any fixed call flow for any industrial segment! Most probably Indian Railways have a fixed call flow for their IVR Application which they install at major Railway stations for train information announcement. Also they use different voice prompts and different languages.
Most probably, this kind of customization requirement has resulted in coming out of Visual Tools to write scripts for implementing call flow by various companies! VoiceGuide, VBVoice, ExtendIVR etc. have such tools for rapid develeopment of IVR Application! These tools have become so flexible and advanced, they can even integrate with existing database.
So, practically as a user, you may not have encountered IVR with same call flow at different places except few large organisations like Railways, Telecom Companies. This make using IVR difficult to use as well as this make IVR Application development challanging.