Friday, September 10, 2010

Chalk IVR

1) Starting your IVR: All phone calls start with a HELLO

Make sure your outbound or inbound IVR always starts with a "Hello".  It's helpful to begin with a play tag that is just a greeting before you move into a menu tags before you start prompting your customer with the next action.

TIP: Good phone etiquette can get you a long way

2) Preventing infinite timeout loops

One of the critical things to know while designing your Cloud IVR is if you want to create some sort of loop back in timeout. If you want to timeout to force a customer to repeat a step, be mindful of answering machines.  If an answering machine  is detected as live, then it can repeat that timeout an infinite amount of times resulting in hugely expensive calls.

TIP: A simple counter node can be created using the setvar (set variable) tag. If you need setvar tag help, contact us for a solution (email: support[at]

3) Indentations and dependencies are like essay outlines

XML scripting languages and the IVR designer interface are set up much like an outline in Word. Things that are dependent on something above them are indented like that. When pulling things down however, things won’t indent the right way even though you want them to. Don’t forget that the buttons all the way on the right can change dependency level.

TIP: Always use the buttons on the right to prevent this issue.

4) Key press tags require a press menu tag and vice versa

All key press tags must be contained in a press menu. You can’t have them floating out by themselves. One of the most common errors that occur are press tags that improperly or not nested in the press menu. So, check your script, and if in doubt call technical support. (877-897-3473)

5) Testing text-to-speech

When using one of the text-to-speech voices it always good to run at least one test phone call just to make sure that it is pronouncing everything the way you intended. For example, the world "invalid" is never pronounced \(ˌ)in-ˈva-ləd\ but instead the prounounced \ˈin-və-ləd\ relating to someone who is suffering from disease.  In order to enable it to pronounce the word correctly you must split these types of words up into 2 words. "In" + "Valid".

Other common issues: The number stream 1,2,3,4,5,6 will be pronounced "One hundred twenty three thousand four hundred fifty six". To prevent that visit the help documentation for CallFire XML, look under the setvar tag, and the special scenario section has a tag to explode the number into individual numbers with spaces between them.  There can be other pronunciation issues so it’s important to conduct a test call.

Using these tried and tested tips can save you a significant amount of time during development and will allow your Cloud IVR to be more effective. If you have other tips you've come across while setting up your own IVR, let us know in the comments below!