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Computer Talk Technology (CTT) - Blog

6 Benefits of Incorporating IVR Into Your Customer Service Strategy.

An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers. All of us have interacted with one before. You many have used an IVR system to get routed to the correct department or person, receive answers to FAQs, book or cancel appointments, check accounts, or more over the phone. Some IVR systems use speech recognition to allow you to communicate your needs. Below are some common benefits that organizations experience from adding an IVR system to their organization.

6 Benefits

1. Increase customer satisfaction

With an easy to use and reliable IVR, customers are directed to the correct agent or department who can answer their inquires. IVR systems are always available to customers regardless of the time or day. IVR systems can be programed with personalized greetings and queue treatment based on the caller’s number or ID information.

2. Decrease call times

IVR systems answer calls on the first ring. Callers can receive quick and informative answers to their questions such as account information, hours of operation and FAQs. If the IVR is unable to resolve the caller’s problem, the call is directed to the appropriate agent or department to handle their inquiry. The information the caller has provided the IVR is presented to the agent preventing them from repeating themselves.

3. Increase first contact resolution

Calls are routed to the appropriate agent or department that is most qualified to meet the caller’s needs. This reduces the likelihood of the call being transferred.

4. Improve efficiency and productivity

With an IVR directing calls, more calls can be answered simultaneously. Agents are presented with the information callers provided to the IVR system. Agents will be matched with customers in need of their specific expertise. This increases the speed in which they can provide appropriate answers and reduces the likelihood of transferring the customer to another agent. Agents can focus on other tasks or handle more calls as the IVR resolves a portion of the calls.

5. Reduce operational costs

The improved efficiency and productivity from the IVR system will reduce operational costs. IVR auto attendant systems can replace receptionists or a customer service agent who directs calls lowering head count.

Agents are experts within their area of expertise. Since they do not need to be trained on all areas this reduces training costs.

6. Improve company image

Smaller companies can create a larger and more professional image with an IVR system fronting their greeting. At the same time, a larger company can use an IVR system to maintain consistency with their greetings and handle higher call volumes.

These are just a few of the common benefits organizations experience by adding an IVR system. Let us know if you have experienced any of these benefits or other benefits by leaving a message in the comment section below. If you would like more information on IVR benefits or applications message us or request a demo.


Publish Date: October 25, 2016 5:00 AM

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Publish Date: March 30, 2016 5:00 AM

Do you know what it means to be Skype for Business native?

More organizations are starting to use additional functionalities of Skype for Business. They are not only using it for only IM and Presence, but also for conferencing and telephony.

As organizations are switching to Skype for Business, they are looking for contact center applications that work seamlessly in this new environment. Organizations can choose to use a native or non-native Skype for Business contact center application to deliver customer service.

Native Skype for Business Contact Centers

Native Skype for Business contact centers are native Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA) applications built within the architecture of a Skype for Business server environment. They use certificates to prove their identity to the Skype for Business server as a trusted application. In other words, native Skype for Business contact centers are trusted applications that can directly control the Skype for Business server and provide value-adding contact center services, such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD), call recording, etc.

Native contact centers can use the same SIP trunks, gateways, server pools, database clusters, and redundancy that were built to run Skype for Business. Organizations can manage their Skype for Business and contact center infrastructure from the same location.

Native contact centers leverage Skype for Business capabilities such as call routing, media handling, conferencing, and presence. They can also take advantage of multiple sites configured in Skype for Business with least cost routing. As Microsoft rolls out new functionalities, native applications are able to immediately take advantage of them.

Non-Native Skype for Business Contact Centers

Non-native contact centers require an additional telephony infrastructure to deliver media-handling capabilities. They integrate with Skype for Business to allow call and presence information to be passed from one system to the other.

Non-native contact centers need to route calls outside of the Skype for Business infrastructure, into their own systems, and then route them back into the Skype for Business infrastructure to provide these functionalities. This adds complexity to the system and also an additional security component to consider.

Contact us to learn more about Skype for Business native contact centers and how they can benefit your organization.


Publish Date: November 26, 2015 5:00 AM

Speech analytics increases contact center productivity.

Over the past decade, speech recognition has been used in contact centers to reduce labour expenses, call times, and wait times and improve customer experience and workforce productivity. Speech recognition software identifies words and phrases spoken in the human voice and converts them into machine-readable format, so that when specific conditions are met, actions are triggered.

Speech recognition is commonly used in two ways: to augment contact routing and to enable speech-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR). IVR is a technology that allows people to interact with computers using a touch-tone key pad or their voice. Other uses include voice biometrics and surveys. Letting customers say their feedback facilitates a more natural, conversational experience.

Here are some examples of how companies use speech recognition today:

  • An airport in Ireland used speech recognition to handle a 30% increase in customer calls without having to increase agent count. By adding speech recognition, tuned to understand the Irish accent, to their IVR, they were able to reduce call time to 53 seconds. (More information here:

  • A credit card company used voice biometrics instead of security questions to verify caller identity. Checking voiceprints took a shorter amount of time, saving telephony resources and shortened call duration. (More information here:

  • A justice department used voice biometrics to drastically reduce the cost of running a house arrest program. Calls were placed during random times of the day. The person had to answer the call, and speak his/her name when prompted by the IVR. If a call is not answered or a voiceprint match was not determined, the person’s parole officer is notified. (More information here:

From our experience, management simplicity is key. As such, it should be built-in or at least have a very tight integration with the contact center. The speech recognition tool usually has to be tuned for regional accents and the message prompts usually have to be adjusted so the caller responds in a more natural way. We highly recommend that you speak with a voice expert, who can help you navigate the complexities around call flows and tuning and to ensure that speech recognition is adding value to the customer journey.

How do you think speech recognition could change the way you interact with customers and clients?


Publish Date: October 27, 2015 5:00 AM

What happens when Response Group is not enough?

 The Response Group application in Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business routes calls to groups of agents, queues calls and offers basic Interactive Voice Response (IVR) features. When a call enters the Response Group application, the call is routed based on a hunt group or the caller’s answers to IVR questions. While these simple features are enough for some departments, others require more advanced contact center features that are not provided with Response Group.

ComputerTalk’s ice, intelligent communications exchange, is the only enterprise-class native Lync and Skype for Business contact center product. ice Contact Center is able to provide the advanced contact center features that many key departments require. With the right supplementary capabilities, contact centers can become key generators of revenue through increasing customer retention and providing agents with the ability to properly cater to the needs of your customers. In addition, costs of maintaining your customer relationships can be lowered dramatically through efficient work force management features provided by ice.

As a native Lync and Skype for Business contact center, ice runs as a full member of the Lync or Skype for Business topology, so it uses your existing Lync or Skype for Business architecture. IT departments will continue only needing to maintain one environment.

Extend the capabilities of Response Groups with ice Contact Center by adding:

    1. Historical reports and real time monitoring

Response Groups does not offer real-time monitoring and has limited historical reports. ice Contact Center offers call statistics, presence status of agents, and the ability to move agents from queue to queue as required. ice Contact Center also comes with multiple in-depth reports about calls, queues, agents, and contacts. These reports enable you to evaluate your operations and manage your workforce to ensure that you are catering to your clients in the most efficient and effective way possible.

    1. Multi-channel support

Customers expect to be able to reach organizations through a variety of channels. Unlike Response Groups which only offers voice, ice Contact Center offers voice, video, email, IM, web chat, SMS, and social media channels. This increases the potential for customer interaction through enabling them to contact you where they are most comfortable.

    1. Advanced call control and call recording

Response Groups does not support call recording and consulting with another user. For training and compliance purposes, many organizations require calls to be recorded and sometimes workers want the ability to consult with a specific knowledge worker. ice Contact Center supports call recording and allows users to consult with other users.

    1. Enhanced IVR and self-service options

Response Groups offers a limited two level menu with four response options. ice Contact Center offers an unlimited number of menus and responses as well as self-service options to allow customer to get answers to FAQs, book or cancel appointments, check accounts, office hours, web addresses, and more without needing to talk to an agent.

    1. Support for multiple languages

As an organization expands to multiple locations their IVR menu options must support multiple languages. While Response Groups only offers support for one language, ice Contact Center offers support for multiple languages.

ice extends the capabilities of Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business Response Groups by adding enterprise-class contact center features. For more information, request a demo.


Publish Date: July 7, 2015 5:00 AM

How contact center call recording works.

Recordings are an essential part of the call center - they are used for regulatory compliance, quality assurance, and training.

In iceJournal, you can access the call recording, email thread, and instant messaging transcripts you need to fulfill your regulatory / QA requirements.

Contact recording can be initiated in three ways:

  1. Trunk-side recording so all calls are recorded
  2. Random recordings
  3. Agent-initiated from iceBAR.

Recordings can be archived and purged based on the rules you designate. Recordings can be moved to offsite backups.

Since we are on the topic of recordings, I would like to share with you one of my favourite features of ice - LookBack Recording.

Sometimes, agents forget to click Record and miss important pieces of information. What usually happens is they would click Record and ask the caller to repeat the information. LookBack Recording ensures that the whole call is recorded, even if the user clicked "Record" in the middle, or even near the end of the call. This is a great feature because it ensures that everything that needs to be recorded is recorded. For more information, send us a message here:


Publish Date: March 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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