Offering advanced ivr services on the broad soft platform
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Offering advanced ivr services on the broad soft platform

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    Offering advanced ivr services on the broad soft platform Offering advanced ivr services on the broad soft platform Document Transcript

    • [ Abstract ]The purpose of this paper is to assist BroadSoft service providers that areconsidering offering advanced IVR and speech recognition services to theircustomers on their BroadWorks platform. This paper discusses the issuesassociated with SaaS IVR solutions and poses some questions that should beasked when considering which IVR vendor to partner with.[ Table of Contents ]Introduction...............................................................................................2What is meant by ‘advanced’ IVR................................................................2Things to consider.......................................................................................3 1. Increased Call & Transport Costs.................................................3 2. Handling call attached data and the Customer Experience..........4 3. Integration to the BroadSoft Telephony Platform.........................5 4. Platform Access..........................................................................5 5. Redundancy...............................................................................6 6. Billing Increments......................................................................6 7. Ongoing Management .............................................................7 8. Avoiding the ‘Black Box’............................................................8Conclusion..................................................................................................8Inference Solutions.....................................................................................9In the United States....................................................................................10In Australia..............................................................................................10 [1]
    • [ Introduction ]It is quite common for BroadSoft service providers to be approached by customers requiring IVRcall-flows that are beyond the capabilities of the BroadSoft Auto Attendant. Failure to offer anadequate IVR solution can lead to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction and customer churn.When such opportunities arise, the following options are typically considered by the serviceprovider:1. Develop the capability in house and determine what skills are required to develop and support these applications.2. Do we deploy an on premise IVR solution and determine what the initial capital outlay will be.3. Deploy a Software as a Service (SaaS) white label offering and determine the implications of doing so.This white paper will examine the options for those BroadSoft service providers that havedismissed options 1 and 2 and are considering either how to approach option 3, or are alreadyusing an existing SaaS IVR partner to provide these services.[ What is meant by ‘advanced’ IVR? ]Advanced IVR within the context of this paper descibes any IVR features and functions that cannotbe delivered by the BroadSoft Auto Attendant product. Such features could include:• Reading back of data using text-to-speech software• Integration to back end systems for completing database dips• ‘Screen Popping’ of IVR data to an agent desktop• Understanding spoken input from customers using speech recognition• Automated outbound dialing from the BroadWorks platform using either lists or on demand campaigns• Reporting and analysis of call related metrics (e.g. IVR options selected) [2]
    • [ Things to Consider ]For those BroadSoft service providers that want to provide these services in a SaaS model, thereare a number of considerations.1) Increased Call and Transport CostsThere are several ways in which a call might get to the IVR platform but the two most commonoptions are shown in the diagrams below.Figure 1 (below) shows a typical ‘over the top’ solution. In this scenario the customer terminatestheir calls to a toll free number directly onto the IVR platform. The toll free number is provided bythe IVR platform vendor. This can mean increased call costs for the customer as all of the minutesthen need to begin on the IVR platform regardless of whether they require ‘advanced’ IVR servicesor just basic functions that the BroadSoft auto attendant could provide. Figure  1  -­‐  Toll  Free  to  Call  Center  Flow  This type of solution can also put questions into the customer’s mind relating to the value theservice providers has in the overall value chain. For the service provider wishing to generateincreased revenues and margins by offering IVR services it can be difficult to articulate their valueproposition over and above just being the final destination of the call. It can also be difficult inthis scenario for a BroadSoft service provider to compete against vendors that have a combinedSaaS based IVR and call centre offering. [3]
    • The second most common scenario (Figure 2, below) shows the call terminating on theBroadWorks platform and then depending on the option chosen within the Auto Attendant thecall is transferred to the IVR platform for processing. A good example of this might where thecustomer opts to pay a bill or obtain an account balance. Figure  1  -­‐  Hair  Pinning  Calls  The increased costs here arise from those customers that want to speak to an operator after theyhave received service from the IVR. The service provider is then required to ‘hair pin’ the call fromtheir BroadWorks platform to the IVR provider platform and then back again in order to speakto an agent. This hair pinning then needs to be retained for the entire duration of the call andincreases the total cost of the transaction considerably.2) Handling call attached data and the Customer ExperienceOne of the most important aspects of providing a good customer experience is that callers shouldonly be asked for information once. How many times have you provided information like accountnumbers to an IVR only to have to repeat everything to the call centre agent once the call isconnected?Having to do this not only causes frustration to the customer but due to the fact that the agent hasto take the time to ask for this information again, has the impact of increasing the average handletime of the call and therefore the total cost to service the call. If the customer experience is to be agood one it is essential that your IVR partner can provide the capability to pass any attached datato the agent at the time the call is delivered to them. [4]
    • 3) Integration to the BroadSoft Telephony PlatformThe ability to integrate with the BroadWorks platform is an important consideration whenselecting an IVR product. A key element when deploying an IVR application is to understandwhen to offer a particular service to a customer. For example, if you are offering a customer a callback, this should only be offered when there are no agents available or the expected wait time istoo long. It is important to try and understand what is happening within the call centre prior topassing calls through to queues, rather than just handing them off blindly.The BroadSoft call centre software makes this information available via the XSI Event Package sothe IVR should be analysing this data prior to transferring any call to a call centre queue. Will thisintegration to the BroadSoft call centre application take place? Does the partner have any experi-ence with integration to the BroadSoft call centre solution? How much experience does the IVRvendor have with the BroadWorks platform and how many developments have they completed?Inference’s Studio interface has full support for XSI. Customers can create and manage XSIsubscriptions and then use subscription information within any IVR script. All events can be madeavailable as local variables to allow for incredibly flexible IVR interactions.4) Platform AccessWhen looking at the IVR platform one should consider how access to the IVR platform is going tobe achieved. Will the call ingress and egress from your platform and will you retain call control?Does the IVR partner have experience working with telephony service providers or is their modeldirect? Do they support a ‘bring-your-own’ access model and if so, how is that achieved? Do theyhave experience with service providers connecting via the public internet, point to point, peeringor cross connect or is their model always to have the call terminated on their platform?Keeping a call on-net is vital for Service Providers as it allows them to preserve their place in thevalue chain. Over-the-top providers typically erode the value of the service provider over time. [5]
    • In addition, on-net solutions allow for simpler billing. Bills can be cut from the same CDR’s alreadyin use by the Service Provider.Finally, an on-net solution allows the service provider to be selective as to when to offer IVRfunctionality. When integrated with XSI, service providers can switch in IVRs when queue lengthsget to a predefined length or when an agent is unavailable.5) RedundancyRedundancy is a key aspect when considering any IVR offering. The question of how redundancywill be achieved and what service level is being offered. Will redundancy be achieved by tak-ing advantage of the group/enterprise trunk capability within your BroadWorks platform? Whatwill the customer experience be like in the event that a component of the solution fails? Willredundancy require human intervention? In the event of a failure, how is the customer datareplicated and what will the impact be on the caller experience?Inference’s SaaS platform allows providers to connect to multiple points of presence, specifying aprimary and secondary point-of-presence within a BroadWorks enterprise trunk.In the event of a network interruption, calls are automatically routed to the secondary point-of-presence. All customer data is automatically replicated in between the points-of-presence.6) Billing IncrementsBilling increments can have a considerable impact on managing the cost of the solutiondepending on the average IVR transaction duration. In order to maintain control over costs, theservice provider should understand how IVR processing time is going to be billed and what arethe associated transport costs with SaaS offering? Is the IVR partner billing in per-second, thirty-second or one minute increments? What is the minimum billing time on platform per call andwhat is the minimum monthly spend on the platform? [6]
    • Table 1, below, shows an example of how billing increments can have a significant impact on thetotal monthly bill. Total Cost (based on $0.06 per minute) Call Duration Monthly Volume Per second Increments 30 seconds 60 seconds 40 seconds $1,600 $2,400 $2,400 65 seconds 40,000 $2,600 $3,600 $4,800 100 seconds $4,000 $4,800 $4,800 Table  1  -­‐  Billing  Increment  Cost  Comparison  7) Ongoing Management & Multi TenancyFrom a service provider perspective an important aspect of the solution should be whether itsupports multi-tenancy. What skills are required to develop the IVR call flows? Do technicalsupport teams need to learn VXML and CCXML in order to develop IVR scripts? Is integrationachieved graphically through the web interface or are programming languages required? Doesthe IVR partner have a model for deploying common script templates within the service creationenvironment?Inference’s Studio environment is completely browser based and fully graphical. Our ‘no-code’development approach means that anyone with an account is able to build IVR scripts immedi-ately. There is no need to understand any of the under lying technologies or scripting languages.Support for templates means that Service Providers are able to offer value added services totheir customers on day one. Whether they need a survey, an advanced auto attendant or a voiceenabled dialer - it all comes standard with Studio. [7]
    • Studio is designed from the ground up to be multi-tenanted. A service provider can use thesupervisor mode to see what a customer sees and help troubleshoot any issues. Service providersare also provided with their own internal use account for testing and script development.8) Avoiding the ‘Black Box’What reporting capability both from a billing perspective and performance perspective does yourpartner offer? Is logging data easy to understand and transparent? How are Call Detail Recordscalculated and can you use your own Call Detail Records to enure that your final bill to yourcustomer is accurate and defendable. These points can have a big impact on the amount ofadministration time spent trying to work out whether the bill you have received is correct or notand whether system performance figures are accurate.Inference’s Studio environment allows customer to log whatever data is relevant to them. Datacan be shown in tabular form or graphically using the in built reporting. It can also be exported inpopular formats for use elsewhere.[Conclusion]There are a number of options that service providers have available to them in terms of providingtheir customer with IVR services. By providing an ‘on net’ IVR service, the service provider is ableto deliver the most compelling value proposition to their customers. The ability for the service pro-vider to retain call control ensures that they retain their place in that value chain and provide thebest opportunity for generating greater revenue and higher margins. By providing the opportunityfor service providers to ‘bring their own’ access, Inference Solutions ensure that service providersare able to offer their customers fully integrated IVR services that integrate natively with theirBroadWorks platform. [8]
    • [ Inference Solutions ]Inference Solutions has been providing IVR services on the BroadWorks platform since theinception of VXML processing capabilities on the Media Server in 2008. Inference understandsthe BroadSoft platform and associated services in intimate detail.Inference Studio is a service creation environment that was built with BroadSoft service providersin mind and designed to be provided to your customers as a white label IVR service.The architecture enables service providers to take advantage of the redundancy provided withinyour enterprise/group SIP trunks and compliments your Communications as a Service offeringrather than competing with it as traditional IVR offerings will. Per second billing increments in-sures you only pay for the time you consume on the platform and the services that you consume. [9]
    • [ In the United States]118a Fulton Street, #512New York, NY 10038Toll Free: 855 300 1219 - just say “Sales”[ In Australia ]Inference SolutionsLevel 1, Suite 4796 High StreetKew, East, VIC 3102Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Melbourne Australia, Inference has commercializedtechnology built from many years of research and development in the fields of artificial intel-ligence and machine learning. The result is a range of packaged self-service applications thatcompliment and enhance Unified Communications and Call Centre offering for Service Providers.The Inference suite of products combines our expertise in user interaction design and voiceautomation to offer an innovative range of DTMF and speech enabled inbound and outbound IVRapplications for use across a range of verticals. Architectured specifically with service providersin mind, the Inference Live platform provides a robust carrier grade platform using industry openstandards.All our self-service applications provide compelling business cases by giving you real-timemanagement, operational cost reduction, measurable value through powerful analytics and aconsistent customer experience that scales. Service providers have the opportunity to on-boardnew customer and increase existing ARPU by leveraging the Inference edge. [ 10 ]