Best Practices for IVR Applications

Interactive voice responses have been taking the spotlight for the last few months in the Devspace community due to its attractive functionality. IVR uses pre-recorded voice prompts, menus to provide information and receive responses from the users via keypad dialing.

IVR itself is a gambit for a company, chances are, it sets the first impression of the service offered. It is a crucial part in customer communications to provide comprehensible responses for users to navigate and leverage the service.

Devspace-blog-images-ivr

AUDIO

There are few things to consider when creating the audio responses, here are few,

  • Greet and make the user feel welcomed always, each and every sub menu must start with a simple greeting

Ex : “ Thank you for calling hSenid Mobile”, “Hello welcome to services division”

  • Be brief, if the user needs to stay longer to comprehend the message, the time spent and the resources will be wasted.

Ex : “If you want to listen to track ABC press 1” can be said as “For track ABC press 1”

This may not be seen as much but these seconds adds up, considering the comprehension levels of different individuals.

  • Keep the options to a minimum. The human brain cannot comprehend a long list of options. According to Kendra Cherry,
  • “Short-term memory is very brief. When short-term memories are not rehearsed or actively maintained, they last mere seconds.”
  • “Short-term memory is limited. It is commonly suggested that short-term memory can hold seven plus or minus two items.”

The option should be ideally four or less.

  • Always conclude with extensions. Initialize with the phrase and let the user get interested, and then present the extension. If the choice is initialized with the extension, user will not remember the numeric digit at the end of the phrase. This is far more effective in directing users.

Ex : “For hSenid Software International, Press 3”

  • The choices should be presented in descending order according to the popularity, unless of course the choices are equally important.
  • Voice clarity is a factor with a higher precedence. The voice should have a variation of tones with subtlety. It is advised to hire a professional voice. The voice makes up for the entire product through its pronunciation, formality and consolatory responses.
  • Give users the time to respond. The tempo of the responses should be maintained along with subtle pauses. If the tempo is ignored the complexity in comprehension increases.
  • Keep marketing to a minimum, users usually call with a precise goal of requiring one particular service.
  • Do an effort analysis, the level of effort required by a user to navigate your IVR app. This step can be done with few users and if this fails repeat the above.

While these factors are in effect, the conversion of the audio can sometimes be a barrier to the quality to the recorded audio. It is advised to use professional sound engineering software to obtain higher quality, if not open source tools, such as Sound Exchange come in handy.

Hope you all remember about our previous posts on creating your first IVR application with hSenid mobile APIs. If not go ahead and read that before continuing to read this article.

JSON

When creating the JSON file, validate & format using an online tool because the JSON file errors cannot be detected until the file is uploaded and a call is made. A faulty JSON file may result in a voice replying “Internal error occurred” during the call.

Web Socket

The Web Socket builds upon the request and response paradigm of HTTP but without the overhead and latency issues, it carries. This specification defines an API establishing a persistent connection pipeline called a ‘socket’ between the client and the server, enabling to both send and receive data constantly and frequently, aiding real-time connection.

Event handlers play an important role in Web Sockets programming. For example, all received data is processed by an event handler. It is advised to use a single event handler with common processing. Multiple event handlers may cause redundant code. Also note, as a general programming rule to close the connection after use.

During development an echo test might come in handy to test the web socket, there are browser extensions to test this or simply navigate to http://www.websocket.org/

These are the few things to consider while developing an IVR application. Furthermore following the best practices highlighted in our previous posts about file structures, version control, code readability , testing etc. for developing and deployment of TAP applications, will lead to a refined application which will be maintainable and profitable in the long run.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment