Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that has been around for decades. There’s a standard set of features that any new product entering the market must have: audio, menus, data dips and logical decisions. Increasingly, the standard expectation is that integration to major third-party systems are out-of-the-box as well. So if the technology is generally vetted out from a feature perspective, what could a new product like PureCloud have to offer the IVR vertical? Plenty.
Due to the growing expectations for built-in features, today’s IVR applications are increasingly more complicated to implement; often encumbered by dozens or hundreds of tools. But with the explosion of interest in the cloud and a focus on streamlined self-service implementation, PureCloud needed to think differently. From a product management perspective, it’s a gift to have the opportunity to step back and completely rethink an entire industry vertical. We still need to solve similar market needs, but with PureCloud we get to address them in a modern way.
Architect, PureCloud’s IVR design application, is a web-based, drag-and-drop user interface. We started by acknowledging that there are two distinct groups of call flow designers and derive inspiration from the beginnings of the IVR industry. Within a call flow we have the menu view and task view. The menu view serves to address the Auto-Attendant needs: accepting and directing call volume to an intended destination. The task view focuses on the IVR functionality. Often in today’s technologies the two concepts have been merged and can easily overwhelm the needs of the small business which simply needs to direct low volume call traffic. By providing separate user interface constructs with a common set of tools, designers can select the view that makes the most sense for them.
Next we wanted to avoid those hundreds of tools, but still provide robust capabilities. We set out to strike a balance between flexibility and ease of deployment. Our available actions today provide plenty of knobs and levers to customize the caller experience – including some innovative audio and multi-language management tools – but default many values so that designers don’t need advanced knowledge to be initially successful. Also, we’ve bundled formerly similar yet separate functions into sensible actions, bringing down the number of overall actions needed to work with a call flow to a far more reasonable number.
PureCloud Architect also seeks to make tangible and accessible speech technology that was often expensive, complicated, and required prolonged services engagements to deploy. With our integrated speech recognition and text-to-speech engine that is included with our offering – and its growing number of supported languages – speech recognition is now within reach of organizations of all sizes.
If you’d like to learn more, make sure to join us on Tuesday, June 7 at our INTERACTIONS conference in Indianapolis. In the first session, Interactive Voice Response and Speech, we’ll be sharing a feature overview, discussing concepts, and providing a glimpse into features that we are working on and will be releasing later this year. The second session, Building Your First Call Flow, will provide some “how to” details as we build a call flow together. You can still register, here.
Interactive Intelligence PureCloudSM is our latest microservice-based customer engagement cloud platform, a subscription-based scalable system that also helps the rest of your business stay in touch through a rich corporate director, ‘big data’ search, ad hoc and rules-based groups, chat, video chat, and document sharing features.