Interactive Voice Response System
Interactive voice response, or IVR, is a computerized system that allows a person,
typically a telephone caller, to select an option from a voice menu and otherwise interface
with a computer system. Generally the system plays pre-recorded voice prompts to which
the person presses a number on a telephone keypad to select the option chosen, or speaks
simple answers such as "yes", "no", or numbers in answer to the voice prompts.
The latest systems use natural language speech recognition to interpret the questions that
the person wants answered. The newest trend is Guided Speech IVR which integrates live
human agents into the design and workflow of the application to help the speech
recognition with human context.
Other innovations include the ability to speak complex and dynamic information such as
an e-mail, news report or weather information using Text-To-Speech (TTS). TTS is
computer generated synthesised speech and is no longer the robotic voice people
associate with computers. Real voices are used to create the speech in tiny fragments that
are glued together before being played to the caller.
Insight IVR (Interactive Voice Response) System:
Insight IVR is a powerful software that allows companies to turn their vision of an
interactive call flow into reality. In sight IVR is built on a software platform that has been
developed over the last 20 years. The product has been proven around the world to be
flexible, robust, and reliable
The software consists of two main parts:
1. The Call Handling Engine
2. The Application Generator
The Application Generator
The Insight IVR Application Generator is extremely flexible and powerful tool that
allows almost any voice application to be created. IVR is a generic term identifying the
interaction of an Automated System with a caller via a telephone keypad. As the name
implies, the automated system can provide automated voice responses based on the
caller’s touchtone interaction with the system. With PEC’s IVR application generator
module, system users can dynamically create their own call flows based on their own
requirements. As well, data can be extracted from a database, text file or external
application and played over the phone using Text to Speech Functionality or the call flow
direction can be set based on the data values. From the time the caller dials an IVR phone
number, the prompts and caller interaction is defined by the IVR application.
The Call Handling Engine
The Insight IVR system works in conjunction with Central Office Switches (Telephone
Company), PBX switches, or VoIP Gateways (SWITCH). When a caller calls a
subscriber number, the SWITCH routes the call to the Insight IVR system. Based on the
DNIS (Dialed number) there will be a predefined IVR application linked to this DNIS
which will be launched upon receiving the call. The call flow is then managed by the
Insight IVR: Features
The following is just a small list of features that Insight IVR has to offer:
Web Based Reporting
1. Generate Hourly, Daily, Monthly or Yearly Graphs on Calls with one click
2. Extremely User Friendly Interface
3. Generate Summary Reports / Invoices to send to Customers
4. View Detailed Summaries & Invoices for Each DID
5. Set the Date/Time Format you wish to display based on the country.
Unlimited Number of Call Flows
1. Insight IVR allows you to create an unlimited number of call flows.
2. IVR Scripts can be triggered based on the Access Number (DID) or Mailbox
Number Dialed. So, if you had 50 Access Numbers (DID) into your system, each
could trigger a different call flow.
3. Even if your system has only 24 lines, you can still have thousands of IVR
Text to Speech
1. Text to Speech is an extremely simple feature to use.
2. Simply type any text into a field and Insight IVR will speak the text to the caller.
3. Eliminates the need to record prompts.
4. Allows for quick, on-the-fly changes to a script.
5. High-quality, Professional Sounding Voice.
1. Insight IVR’s Speech Recognition feature makes customer interaction with your
system quick, convenient, and simple.
2. Insight’s Speech Recognition module recognizes words, names, spoken letters,
3. Callers can spell names, order products, enter account numbers and zip codes, all
without entering a single touch tone on their phone.
Touch Tone Detection
1. The most common method through which Insight communicates with a customers
is through Touch Tone. Customers can choose from a list of selections, enter
account numbers, enter their security code, etc, all through the numeric keypad on
2. Insight allows you to specify the number of digits to expect and the maximum
amount of time to wait in between digits to make the call flow as seamless as
1. Many IVR applications require database interactivity. Insight provides interaction
with multiple databases such as Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, dBase,
FoxPro, SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, Informix, Text Files and many others. It is
also ODBC compliant.
2. Insight IVR can perform all the standard database actions such as Reading,
Writing, and Querying.
1. Insight IVR provides voice messaging capabilities whereby callers can access the
IVR system, leave messages, retrieve messages, and review messages.
2. Each message is individually dated and time stamped and kept in the order they
3. There is no limit to how long a message can be, and as soon as the message is left,
it is available for your IVR application to access.
1. Insight IVR allows you to transfer callers dynamically to other telephone lines.
Callers can be transferred with a blind transfer (unconditionally) or with a
supervised transfer (monitor the call status before transferring).
2. Insight also supports call patching, whereby multiple callers can be connected
together into the same conversation.
Voice To Email
1. Insight IVR can take a voice message and deliver it to any specified email address.
2. This feature allows subscribers to listen to messages on their computers and then
archive the messages appropriately on their own computer.
3. Since the message is sent via standard email, the email can be opened from any
Internet terminal in the world which gives subscribers mobility and flexibility.
Fax To Email
1. Insight IVR can receive and send faxes. When Insight receives a fax, it can deliver
it to any specified email address.
2. This feature allows subscribers to view their faxes on their computers and then
archive the faxes appropriately on their own computer.
3. Since the fax is sent via standard email, your subscribers can take their virtual fax
machine with them anywhere in the world.
IVR can be used to send emails dynamically, with or without attachment files.
For example, if your IVR application is designed to take orders for Auto Parts, the Email
feature of Insight can automatically email the order information to the manufacturer so
that they can drop ship the item to that customer.
1. Insight IVR allows you to dynamically call out to customers & clients.
2. Based on the status of the call, whether it be busy, no answer, connect, answering
machine, fax machine, or operator intercept, Insight allows you to choose what
action to perform.
Read/Write Text File
1. Insight IVR allows you to read and write to both text and CSV files. This Read
feature allows you to dynamically read any information from a text file into your
application. This feature is often used for data that is constantly changing.
2. The Write feature is usually used to keep a call log or an event log of caller
Insight IVR allows you to run another program or call the dispatch function of a DLL
file from within IVR. This feature can be used in several practical ways including
running Notepad, virus scan, disk defragmenter, disk backup, file compression (ZIP)
or any other program.
Insight ™ I V R System
The need for a human operator to handle a high volume of simple repetitive phone calls is
a thing of the past. Today, computer telephony integration (CTI) leverages the power and
versatility of computers to enhance phone systems with automated applications that
answer and direct calls and even provide callers with the information they require – many
times without having to speak to a call center agent. Most customers have experienced
automated call systems at one time or another. Have you ever called a business and been
greeted by a voice prompting you to press (or say) a number to choose from a menu of
options? You were interacting with either an auto attendant or an interactive voice
response (IVR) system.
An auto attendant is a system that is integrated into an existing phone system or an
external server to answer incoming phone calls. The auto attendant provides callers with a
menu of options for navigating the phone system to reach the department or phone
number they desire. An auto attendant can be quite simple, or it can provide advanced
features such as voice recognition and text -to-speech translation. However, an auto
attendant is unable to retrieve information from other systems, limiting its ability to be
On the other hand, IVR provides all the features of an auto attendant plus the ability to
use input from callers to interact with separate external systems. IVR systems can
improve call center efficiency with recorded, frequently requested information or by
routing callers to the most relevant agent based on their input. IVR systems retrieve
information requested by callers and present it in a variety of ways, such as a recorded or
synthesized voice, fax, web page, or even an email. The advantage of an IVR system is
that applications can be customized for almost any situation imaginable to accommodate
callers’ requests. For instance, IVR allows customers to call their credit card company,
and by inputting their account number and password, get real-time information about
their current account balance, amount of credit available, payoff information, etc. Or,
someone might use the airline’s IVR to check if his flight is on time before leaving for the
IVR systems are used to remove the burden from human representatives and get
customers the information they need quickly. The examples listed are only a few of the
numerous implementations that are possible.
An IVR system is typically a separate server that contains digital signal processing
(DSP)hardware that analyzes and reproduces voice patterns. The IVR server interacts
with a phone system through a dedicated connection. The way in which the IVR server is
connected to the phone system depends on its capabilities and physical connections. An
IVR can be connected to a key system, PBX, or other type of phone switch through
analog ports, digital ports, and even a LAN or WAN connection.
A unique quality of IVR is its ability to interact with many different systems to gather and
present information back to a caller. IVR can access external databases, retrieve the
information it needs, and present it back to the caller over the phone through a
synthesized voice, or it can use a fax, web, or email systems. If the customer requests it,
his call can be put through to live agent as well.
A new trend in IVR technology is to allow access to the same information as a web
browser using speech recognition technology to transmit the web site pages. A customer
can access the web via the IVR, respond to voice prompts, ask questions, and if stuck or
requiring additional information, default to a live agent from the IVR. From inside a call
center, IVR information can be passed to call agents through screen popups, eliminating
the need for a customer to constantly repeat information – and at the same time preparing
the agent for the upcoming call. Also, an automatic call distributor (ACD) can use
information gathered by the IVR application to route calls to the correct department,
making it much easier for customers to get the service they require without being
transferred from agent to agent.
IVR systems provide customers with many services such as fax on demand, secure access
to confidential account information, general information such as phone numbers and
working hours, and an easy way to navigate through a complex phone system. From a
business perspective, IVR adds to customer satisfaction by giving customers what they
want, and several options to get it. If the customer is satisfied, the IVR system will pay
for itself through increased sales. IVR systems also reduce call center costs by fielding
the bulk of routine calls, allowing live agents to handle only the calls that require
specialized skills. Fewer agents perform the same amount of work and maintain the
quality of the call center.
IVR systems also extend business hours, allowing customers to retrieve information or
even place orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether agents are working or not.
Businesses also benefit when the IVR system is used to inform callers about products and
services during hold time.
Additionally, an IVR system provides detailed information about call center activity and
services that customers access, making it easy to tailor a call center to the specific needs
of the customer and streamline operations to reduce waste.
Maximizing your IVR
Most customers have had pleasant – or frustrating – experiences with IVR systems. An
IVR system is only as good as its design, and a poor design can do more harm than good
for a business if customer satisfaction decreases due to an IVR implementation.
Below are some guidelines for planning an effective IVR solution.
Meeting current needs is an important goal, but an IVR solution should be easy to modify
to support company’s changing needs. Lines should be easily added or removed,
additional features should be easily installed, and the IVR system should interoperate
with existing equipment to reduce the need for additional interfaces and equipment.
IVR systems come in all shapes and sizes. An underpowered IVR can cause customers to
become impatient, and it may even drop calls because it cannot handle the volume of
incoming traffic. It’s important that an IVR system is able to handle the current number of
incoming lines at maximum capacity.
IVR solutions should be designed with the customer in mind. Menus should be logically
designed, and the options should be explained in a way that anyone can understand.
Because it’s difficult for callers to remember a long list of menu items, it’s important to
keep the number of options to a minimum and include the ability to repeat the choices.
While it is possible to record your own IVR menus, it is often preferable to have an
agency record the voice of the IVR to make it as clear and professional as possible.
Finally, an effective way to ensure that your IVR is effective is to monitor the IVR logs to
see how many calls are dropped, as dropped calls are an indication of customer frustration
with the phone system.
About PEC’s Insight Applications Generator
The Insight IVR is an application generator that allows you full connectivity to the most
popular databases including Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Fox Pro,
dBase, bTrieve, Paradox, or standard text files. The Insight IVR can be used to read
information from databases, write information to databases, as well as query databases
and return information. Insight IVRTM performs over 40 different, customizable
commands. You can setup properties for each command just as if you were executing the
The Insight IVR applications are not stand alone applications. Applications are executed
inside of a mailbox on your system. Insight IVR supports T1, E1, ISDN, DID, and analog
interfaces. Callers can dial into an application directly or dial into the system and select
an application to use. The Insight IVR runs on Intel Dialogic (digital and analog) boards.
The Insight IVR will execute any application you create when a caller dials in. By using
DTMF, you can allow callers to interact with the system. Advanced database technology
allows you to read, write, append, search, and seek database information, you can record
your product inventory, setup games, keep track of your customers or patients, or
virtually any other application you can think of. The advanced, innovative technology,
backed by a simple, easy to use, drag and drop interface ma kes writing applications easy.
Many applications require a database interface with an IVR system. Insight provides
emulation and links to many databases such as:
1. Microsoft Access
4. MS-SQL Server
5. ODBC, I
and many others. Insight also can connect to IBM’s AS-400 and support the DB2
Data runs between the IVR system and the database application through specific
Applications can run embedded, be created on the fly, or through import/export facilities.
The Insight software can make use of the Winfax software from Semantic for sending out
fax documents. You need a separate phone line for Winfax.
The Insight software can also interface with the Rightfax server software.
Intel Dialogic Fax
The Insight software has full support for the fax technology provided by the Intel
Corporation. The software can make use of the same phone line for voice and fax. The
software supports the option of one call or two calls. For one call the caller calls from his
machine and requests a document and then presses the Start button to receive his fax.
Call Bridging is a technique where a call arrives on one telephone line and goes out on
another telephone line. The Insight software can receive a call on one telephone line and
call out on another line and connect the caller to the called party. This feature is useful for
digital trunks and other situations where the phone company does not provide the call
In some cases a caller presses “0” and wishes to talk to an operator, Insight transfers the
call to a live person by bridging the calls.
Credit Card Authorization Module
This module allows your callers to pay by their credit cards. In many cases if the caller
wants to pay by a credit card, the Insight software asks the caller to enter his credit card
number and the expiration date. Then the software invokes the Credit Card Authorization
Module and sends a transaction to the credit card processing company. After the software
receives the credit card authorization code, it concludes the call session.
Phone Systems Supported
The Insight software supports most of the telephones in operation.
Caller ID Support
The Insight software makes full uses of the Caller ID. It logs the all the calls received
with the associated Caller ID’s. It can also log the touch-tone keys the caller presses for
Computer System Requirements
1. Intel Pentium III or higher processor
2. Windows 2000 Professional or higher
3. 256 Megabytes of RAM
4. 3.5" Floppy Drive
5. CD-RW Drive
6. 20 GB or larger Hard Drive (Note: 10MB = 1 Hour of voice)
7. 56KHz US Robotics Modem
8. pcAnywhere or Remote Admin Remote Support Software
9. VGA display card, VGA monitor
10. Keyboard, Mouse
11. Database Software
12. 4 Port or Digital Voice Response Board(s)
Controlling IVRS performance
A system of controlling performance in an interactive voice response system includes a
voice device driver, a voice segment stored in a file in a directory in a standard operating
system format; a buffer for storing the voice segment prior to sending to the voice device
driver and a plurality of voice channels for output of the voice segment. A sequence of
voice blocks is requested to be sent to a buffer, the sequence being one of a plurality of
sequences making up a voice segment. The number of voice blocks sent from the file to
the buffer is determined. The play period of the sequence and the next underrun time
when the sequence will finish playing based on the initiate request time and the play
period are calculated. Also calculated is the margin period between the calculated next
underrun time and the actual time after a further sequence of voice data blocks is sent to
the buffer in response to a device driver request for a further sequence of voice data
blocks. A telephony channel is shut down when the margin period exceeds a defined
Do Your Voice Response Services Work Correctly?
Voice response services used, for instance, to check a mobile phone mailbox are a
common feature of everyday life, and such use of telecommunication equipment will only
continue to increase.
Testing such systems is essential for network operators to ensure the quality of their
services and maintain customers satisfaction.
Because IVR systems are highly sophisticated, they are difficult to test using
conventional methods. At present, standard practice involves complicated test runs in
which frustrated employees manually test telephone IVR systems.
I V R Software for Windows
IVM is a telephone interactive voice response (IVR) program for Windows. This software
lets you create an effective info-line, audiotext, or automated phone system solution for
your business. Callers navigate menus and prompts by pressing numbers on their
telephone. Menu commands can record and replay messages, transfer calls and perform a
number of other functions.
1. Telephone information lines, hotline or audiotext type systems.
2. Call attendant (using menu(s) to transfer and direct calls).
3. Computer Telephony Integration (cti software applications).
4. Voice Over Internet Protocol IVR (voip ivr software applications).
5. Interactive automated telephone order taking.
6. Automated ivr inbound or outbound telephone surveys (using the number entry
features linked to a database).
7. Voicemail (from a single answering message to hundreds of voice mailboxes).
8. Credit card telephone account payment.
9. Dial in computer control or information (eg. Dial in to test security alarm or to
10. Automatic outbound call message systems (eg. telemarketing and notification
11. Fax on demand systems.
12. Many more telephone related applications.
Setting up a system is easy. Download the software and install it on any Windows PC.
For professional or multiline installations we recommend a telephony board to connect to
the phone line(s). For home single line use a voice modem in the PC may be sufficient.
VoIP services can be used to receive calls directly via the Internet without any special
1. Multiple telephone line support (1 - 64 lines simultaneously).
2. Call key select menus and ability for caller to enter numbers (data entry).
3. Unlimited (selectable) out-going messages and menus.
4. Fully programmable setup with examples and free plugins available for typical
5. Can automatically link to other programs with plugins.
6. Call transfer (subject to your phone company or PBX features).
7. Remote Access (listen to messages by dialing-in) including toll-saver.
8. Call simulator is included so you can test your systems off-line.
9. Unlimited voice mail boxes (each with own email forward, internet access page or
• Windows 95/NT4/98/2000/Me/XP/2003/Vista.
• To link to phone lines one of the following:
o Professional TAPI telephony card (eg. CallURL, CAHTA, Synway etc.)
o VoIP (SIP) service for voice over IP lines.
o Voice Modem (TAPI compliant)
An IVR system is a powerful tool for increasing customer satisfaction, and it can help
reduce the overall cost of a call center while maintaining or even increasing the number of
incoming calls. However, too much of a good thing can be counter-productive. A balance
of automation and good old-fashioned customer service is often more effective than a
faceless machine, and in today’s highly competitive marketplace, a smiling face and a
firm digital handshake can give any business an edge.