Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Thursday, our lead IVR designer Bill Hughes, ran an informative webinar on TMCNet. TMC stands for Technology Marketing Communications, and touts itself as the world's largest communications and technology community.

Bill began the webinar by introducing CallFire. But some attendees got an early taste of what we do because they opted in to receive text message reminders 10 minutes before the webinar began. Bill explained how CallFire's enterprise clients work with a whole Professional Services Team at CallFire, consisting of (at a minimum) a developer, engineer, and account manager.

He then elaborated on what exactly an IVR is, and what it can do. IVR applications include playing pre-recorded sound files, reading text-to-speech entries, asking questions and getting back responses, sending responses to a server and getting back other information in response, recording audio data, transferring and routing calls, and more.

So if a business knows it needs an IVR, why, then, a hosted IVR, rather than an on-premise system? Bill discussed the economies of scale associated with Hosted (or Cloud) IVR, and emphasized one feature unique to CallFire: all data can remain secure on your company's own servers. Only the processes by which that data is gathered resides in the cloud.

Security, it seems, is a huge priority when it comes to cloud deployments. During the webinar, we took a poll of attendees, and security was of high concern. But costs were foremost in attendees' minds, and a hosted solution wins there too. With a hosted IVR, there is no hardware or special equipment required, and the maintenance and upkeep of the system is the burden of the provider. If you do have data uploaded to the cloud, then the vendor maintains off-site archives, so there's no need to invest in expensive backup schemes, software, or hardware.


But all of these concerns seem rather abstract without seeing how CallFire has served large-scale clients in the real world. So we took a look at four case studies from CallFire's 37,000+ user base.

The first was in the political realm, and CallFire has almost too many examples to name. CallFire's Hosted IVR has served national, state, and local campaigns on both sides of the ideological spectrum by sending out automated surveys, get-out-the-vote reminders, and meet-the-candidate calls.

The next example was a large investment company. Here, the firm needed to collect votes from its shareholders. But every shareholder was unique, needing to vote on issues or directors for funds that he or she was invested in. So CallFire built an IVR to handle voting needs based on a shareholder's voter reference number. This kept sensitive information secure, while allowing an easy method for shareholders to cast votes on their funds.

The third example is Ipsos Loyalty, for which CallFire has helped process customer satisfaction surveys over seven million times over. CallFire's IVR was intelligent enough to randomize the order of questions in order to keep the statistical validity. But it also only asked questions based on departments that the survey-taker had actually visited while in-store. Before Ipsos partnered with CallFire, their survey ran to over 7,000 lines of code in the back-end. Once CallFire was done, it was down to 1,000 lines of code, greatly increasing the efficiency of the script.

Finally, Bill discussed United Road Service, an auto delivery service company for Honda. Like many enterprise clients, United needed verbal confirmation for insurance and legal purposes. This is another area where a Cloud IVR shines. Using CallFire, United Road Service drivers could call into the IVR, enter his driver code, and confirm his verbal statement that his delivery was made and his truck was returned to driveable position. CallFire delivered each recording to United Road Service via its API, and in the event of an accident, the driver, United, and the insurance company were all legally covered. Since United implemented this call-in system, accidents are down over 75%, and Honda has named the United Road Service IVR a Best Practice.

The webinar will be archived on TMCNet for the next 18 months. Just fill out the form and view the entire video with Q&A. For more IVR resources, you can also view our weekly IVR webinar, or flip through the slideshow embedded below.