CA2857140C - System and method for externally mapping an interactive voice response menu - Google Patents

System and method for externally mapping an interactive voice response menu Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2857140C
CA2857140C CA2857140A CA2857140A CA2857140C CA 2857140 C CA2857140 C CA 2857140C CA 2857140 A CA2857140 A CA 2857140A CA 2857140 A CA2857140 A CA 2857140A CA 2857140 C CA2857140 C CA 2857140C
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Prior art keywords
qcs
ivrms
ivr
map
commands
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CA2857140A
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French (fr)
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CA2857140A1 (en
Inventor
Shai Berger
Jason P. Bigue
Michael Pultz
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FonCloud Inc
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FonCloud Inc
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Priority to US3520408P priority Critical
Priority to US3519508P priority
Priority to US61/035,195 priority
Priority to US61/035,204 priority
Application filed by FonCloud Inc filed Critical FonCloud Inc
Priority to CA2716732A priority patent/CA2716732C/en
Publication of CA2857140A1 publication Critical patent/CA2857140A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of CA2857140C publication Critical patent/CA2857140C/en
Active legal-status Critical Current
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/50Centralised arrangements for answering calls; Centralised arrangements for recording messages for absent or busy subscribers ; Centralised arrangements for recording messages
    • H04M3/51Centralised call answering arrangements requiring operator intervention, e.g. call or contact centers for telemarketing
    • H04M3/5166Centralised call answering arrangements requiring operator intervention, e.g. call or contact centers for telemarketing in combination with interactive voice response systems or voice portals, e.g. as front-ends
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M3/00Automatic or semi-automatic exchanges
    • H04M3/42Systems providing special services or facilities to subscribers
    • H04M3/50Centralised arrangements for answering calls; Centralised arrangements for recording messages for absent or busy subscribers ; Centralised arrangements for recording messages
    • H04M3/51Centralised call answering arrangements requiring operator intervention, e.g. call or contact centers for telemarketing
    • H04M3/523Centralised call answering arrangements requiring operator intervention, e.g. call or contact centers for telemarketing with call distribution or queueing
    • H04M3/5238Centralised call answering arrangements requiring operator intervention, e.g. call or contact centers for telemarketing with call distribution or queueing with waiting time or load prediction arrangements

Abstract

An interactive voice response mapping system (IVRMS) is used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, with the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), and the IVRMS
adapted to communicate with the QCS and to build an IVR map of the QCS. The IVRSM translates the IVR
and corrects the mistakes and modifies translated commands by adding, removing or changing them and validates the IVR map by further navigating the QCS phone system.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR EXTERNALLY MAPPING AN INTERACTIVE VOICE
RESPONSE MENU
Field of the Invention The present invention relates generally to communication call management and, more particularly, to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems.
Background of the Invention Today, when a user (waiting party) calls a large company or service center (queuing party), it is very likely that he or she (referred to collectively as It" in this disclosure) will be connected to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
Such systems present the waiting party with information via a series of audio prompts and receive input from the caller via dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF) tones (also known as "touch tones") or verbal commands.
An "IVR map" is a structured list of all the possible paths through a given IVR
system, where each path consists of one or more nodes. Figure 1 (PRIOR ART) provides an illustrative example of such an IVR map. Each node in the map includes a prompt and possibly one or more commands. The prompt is the audio that is heard by the waiting party and is represented in the map by the corresponding text. A
command allows the caller to navigate to another node. Examples of commands are DTMF
tones and verbal commands. Each command will lead to another node in the IVR system, or will put the caller in a queue to speak to a live agent.
The strength of the IVR system is its universality. It works on any phone and is usable by even the least technically inclined people. IVR systems are favored by companies because they allow live agents to be used more effectively, which in turn reduces the costs of running call centers. Recent advances in technology are making IVR systems both easier to set up and more elaborate. Customer interactions that used to involve an agent ¨ e.g., checking a bank balance, making a payment ¨ are being
2 delegated more and more to the "automated attendant". It's clear that IVRs are going to be used for the foreseeable future.
However, IVR systems can be very frustrating to the waiting party. By way of example:
1. Companies are putting more and more marketing messages into their IVRs, which provides no value to the waiting party and increases the time it takes him or her to accomplish desired objectives.
2. For really long menus, it can be hard for the waiting party to remember all the options by the time the menu completes.
3. Often the waiting party simply wants to speak to an agent. but the path to get there is not obvious. In fact, sometimes companies make reaching an agent deliberately obtuse.
Summarv of the Invention The present embodiments provide in one aspect an interactive voice response mapping system (IVRMS) used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the IVRMS
adapted to communicate with the QCS and to build an IVR map of the QCS.
In another aspect, the present embodiments provide a method used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the method comprising communicating with the QCS

and to build an IVR map of the QCS.
Brief Description of the Drawings Embodiments of the invention are described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an illustration of an IVR map with commands and nodes.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an IVR mapping system (IVRMS) using a network to communicate with a C1CS system and build an IVR
map.
FIG. 3 is an illustration of an exemplary IVRMS with the option of capability of being edited by en editor through a visual map editor interface (MEI).
FIG 4 is an illustration of an exemplary MEI screenshot.
FIG 5 is an illustration of an exemplary IVR database incorporating time-based IVR maps.
Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which embodiments of the invention are shown.
This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.
The embodiments presented herein provide a system and method which allows the waiting party to review the IVR map of a queuing party in, e.g. in a visual way, thus saving time during the navigation process in a transaction which might be through a land phone, mobile phone, web-based phone, softphone, and the like.
Referring initially to Figure 1, the queuing party could have the IVR map as herein shown by way of example, and the waiting party may want to reach technical support for a hardware problem. The illustration of Figure 1 makes it clear that after dialing, the waiting party needs to press "1" and then "2". This approach is faster compared to dialing the number without the IVR map as a reference and listening through the menus. Because this example is simplified, the time savings is minimal, but in real-world cases, it can be much more substantial.
One difficulty in creating an IVR map is that, typically, the queuing party does not make available the contents of its IVR map in any way other than through dialing their phone system. Further, the queuing party may change the content or structure of its IVR
4 map at any time. There is currently no system for notifying a third party of this change, hence an IVR map may become out-of-date at any time, without notice.
The embodiments presented herein provide a communications system referred to as the IVR mapping system (IVRMS) that is independent of the queuing party and of any telephone network carriers. Figure 2 illustrates, by way of example, functions of an IVRMS 1. The IVRMS 1 connects through the communication network 2 (e.g., PSTN) with the queuing calling system (QCS) 3 of the queuing party (typically an IVR). The IVRMS generates and IVR map 4 for a given QCS which is in turn stored in a database called the IVR map Database (IVRMDB) 5.
It should be noted that present embodiments are applicable to landline phones, mobile and cellular phones, internet/web/IP-based phones or softphones etc.
All the above devices could be identified with a voice address which could for example be a telephone number or an IP address. For instance, just as well as sending voice cues or composing numbers with a telephone, one could use data and software command transfer using intemet/web/IP-based phones or softphones. It is therefore important to notice that the present embodiments relate to all these cases.
Functions of one IVRMS according to the teachings of the present invention may include:
4. Connect to the QCS over a communication network (e.g., PSTN).
5. Process the audio from the QCS and convert it to text or graphical representation.
6. Compare the audio or text with existing IVR map, if one exists.
7. Extract navigational information.
8. Send commands to the QCS (e.g., DTMF tones, voice cues, software commands, and the like).
The Editor In some embodiments, the actions of the IVRMS are assisted by an editor. The tasks of the editor include at least one of the following:
1. Correcting mistakes in the automated speech-to-text conversion process;

2. Removing text that is not relevant for visual navigation (e.g. "press star to repeat this menu");
3. Correcting the structure of the IVR map by adding, removing or changing commands for particular nodes.
5 In some embodiments, the editor is presented with a visual interface, namely the map editing interface (MEI), that facilitates the editor's work. Figure 3 shows an illustrative example involving an MEI and other relevant components.
Figure 4 shows an exemplary representation of an MEI screenshot that allows the editor to make appropriate changes to a node in the IVRMDB.
It should be noted that editor might be a person, or it might also be a built-in software or hardware module inside the IVRMS, or an external software or hardware device interoperable with the IVRMS.
Map Validation In some embodiments, the IVRMS performs a process called map validation, whereby it connects with the QCS and issues the appropriate commands to reach every node in the map. At each node, the IVRMS performs a process called node Validation whereby the incoming audio and/or text from a given node is compared with the stored audio and/or text for that node in the IVRMDB. If a certain threshold of matching is not met, then the node is flagged and, in some embodiments, an Editor is notified so that the node can be reviewed. The threshold levels may be set by the Editor on a per-node or per-map basis.
In some embodiments, map validation is performed on a regular schedule for each queuing party.
In some embodiments, some queuing parties may be designated as "frequently changing", and hence require more frequent map validation.
Regular Time-based Map Changes Some queuing parties may have regularly scheduled periods during which the IVR map is switched from the "primary IVR map" (the one heard the majority of the time) to a "supplementary IVR map". For example, waiting party may be presented with a supplementary IVR map on weekends or outside the office hours of the queuing party.
In order to avoid unnecessary mapping effort, it is important for the IVRMS to recognize these supplementary IVR maps and not discard the primary IVR map. Some embodiments presented herein allow for such regular time-based changes by storing in the IVRMDB the supplementary IVR maps along with the scheduling information associated with each map. Indeed a queuing party may have multiple IVR maps corresponding to different time periods or for any other reason, and the IVRMS
recognizes and builds multiple IVR maps correspondingly. Figure 5 shows an illustrative diagram of this relationship in the IVRMDB.
Non-Essential Text Some queuing parties may have prompts in their IVR map where some of the text in the prompt changes frequently, even though the node's commands do not change. This text is referred to as "non-essential text". Some embodiments presented herein allow the editor to designate blocks of text as non-essential text in order to avoid unnecessary mapping effort.
One benefit of the embodiments presented herein is to provide a system and method that allows the creation of an IVR map for a queuing party in a way that requires no changes to the communication system of the queuing party.
Another benefit of the embodiments presented herein is to provide such a system and method in a way that is transparent to the queuing party, requires no negotiation with the queuing party and requires no cooperation from the queuing party.
Another benefit of the embodiments presented herein is to provide such a system and method in a way that stays synchronized with any changes to the company's map.
Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to the mind of one skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and associated drawings. Therefore, it is understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed, and that modifications and embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (26)

That which is claimed is:
1. An interactive voice response mapping system (IVRMS) used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the IVRMS comprising a component operable to communicate with the QCS to extract navigational information from the QCS and at least partially build an IVR map of the QCS, the IVRMS further comprising a second component operably connected to the first component, the second component operable to correct a structure of the IVR by at least one of adding commands, removing commands, and changing commands for a node in the IVR, wherein the second component is further operable to compare audio communications from the QCS
with an existing IVR map for validating or modifying the IVR map.
2. The IVRMS of claim 1, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to process audio communications from the QCS and convert the audio communications to at least one of text and graphical representation.
3. The IVRMS of claim 1, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to send at least one of DTMF tones, voice cues, and software commands to the QCS.
4. The IVRMS of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the component operable to communicate with the QCS is configured to operate on a computer.
5. The IVRMS of any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the second component is an editor configured to operate on a computer.
6. An interactive voice response mapping system (IVRMS) used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the IVRMS comprising a component operable to communicate with the QCS to extract navigational information from the QCS and at least partially build an IVR map of the QCS, the IVRMS further comprising a second component operably connected to the first component, the second component operable to correct a structure of the IVR by at least one of adding commands, removing commands, and changing commands for a node in the IVR, wherein the the second component is further operable to identify non-essential text for avoiding unnecessary mapping.
7. The IVRMS of claim 6, further comprising a map editing interface operably connected to the first component and second component the map editing interface being operable to facilitate changes to the generated IVR map.
8. The IVRMS of claim 6, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to process audio communications from the QCS and convert the audio communications to at least one of the text and graphical representation.
9. The IVRMS of claim 7, wherein the map editing interface is further operable to facilitate correcting structure of the IVR map via adding, removing or changing commands.
10. The IVRMS of claim 6, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to perform an IVR
map validation by connecting with the QCS and issuing the appropriate commands to reach nodes in the map.
11. The IVRMS of any one of claims 6 to 10, wherein the component operable to communicate with the QCS is configured to operate on a computer.
12. The IVRMS of any one of claims 6 to 11, wherein the second component is an editor configured to operate on a computer.
13. An interactive voice response mapping system (IVRMS) used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the IVRMS comprising a component operable to communicate with the QCS to extract navigational information from the QCS and at least partially build an IVR map of the QCS, the IVRMS further comprising a second component operably connected to the first component, the second component operable to correct mistakes and remove text that is not relevant to navigational information, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to compare audio communications from the QCS with an existing IVR map to validate and/or modify the existing IVR map.
14. The IVRMS of claim 13, wherein the IVRMS is further operable to process audio communications from the QCS and convert the audio communications to at least one of text and graphical representation.
15. The IVRMS of any one of claims 13 to 14, wherein the component operable to communicate with the QCS is configured to operate on a computer.
16. The IVRMS of any one of claims 13 to 15, wherein the second component is an editor configured to operate on a computer.
17. A method for interactive voice response mapping used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the method comprising communicating with the QCS and extracting navigational information from the QCS and at least partially generating an IVR
map of the QCS, correcting structure of the IVR map by at least one of adding commands, removing commands, and changing commands, for a node in the IVR, and further comparing audio communications from the QCS with an existing IVR map to at least one of validating and modifying the IVR map.
18. The method of claim 17, further processing audio communications from the QCS
and converting the audio communications to at least one of text and graphical representation.
19. The method of claim 17, further sending at least one of DTMF tones, voice cues, and software commands to the QCS.
20. A method for interactive voice response mapping used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the method comprising communicating with the QCS and extracting navigational information from the QCS and at least partially generating an IVR
map of the QCS, correcting structure of the IVR map by at least one of adding commands, removing commands, and changing commands, for a node in the IVR, and further identifying non-essential text in order to avoid unnecessary mapping.
21. The method of claim 20, further providing a map editing interface adapted to facilitate changes to the generated IVR map.
22. The method of claim 20, further processing audio communications from the QCS
and converting the audio communications to at least one of text and graphical representation.
23. The method of claim 21, wherein the map editing interface is adapted to facilitate correcting the structure of an IVR map via adding commands, removing commands, or changing commands.
24. The method of claim 20, further performing an IVR map validation by connecting with the QCS and issuing appropriate commands to reach nodes in the map.
25. A method for interactive voice response mapping used in a transaction between a waiting party and a queuing party, the queuing party having a queuing calling system (QCS), the method comprising communicating with the QCS and extracting navigational information from the QCS and at least partially generating an IVR
map of the QCS, and further providing an editor software, the editor software adapted to correct mistakes and remove text that is not relevant to navigational information, further comparing audio communications from the QCS with an existing IVR map to validate and/or modify the existing IVR map.
26. The method of claim 25, further processing audio communications from the QCS
and converting it to at least one of text and graphical representation.
CA2857140A 2008-03-10 2009-03-10 System and method for externally mapping an interactive voice response menu Active CA2857140C (en)

Priority Applications (5)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US3520408P true 2008-03-10 2008-03-10
US3519508P true 2008-03-10 2008-03-10
US61/035,195 2008-03-10
US61/035,204 2008-03-10
CA2716732A CA2716732C (en) 2008-03-10 2009-03-10 System and method for externally mapping an interactive voice response menu

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CA2857140C true CA2857140C (en) 2017-02-21

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CA2714435A Active CA2714435C (en) 2008-03-10 2009-03-10 System and method for deep dialing phone systems
CA2857140A Active CA2857140C (en) 2008-03-10 2009-03-10 System and method for externally mapping an interactive voice response menu

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AT235773T (en) * 2000-05-16 2003-04-15 Swisscom Ag VOICE PORTAL HOST COMPUTER AND METHOD
US20030112931A1 (en) * 2001-12-19 2003-06-19 Wendell Brown Facilitating navigation of an interactive voice response (IVR) menu to establish a telephone connection
US7016842B2 (en) * 2002-03-26 2006-03-21 Sbc Technology Resources, Inc. Method and system for evaluating automatic speech recognition telephone services
KR20040039586A (en) * 2002-11-04 2004-05-12 (주)포이시스 Ststem and method for extracting from ars-information using speech recognition
US7221753B2 (en) * 2003-03-04 2007-05-22 Verizon Business Global Llc Method and system for providing network interactive voice response with intelligent call routing integration
US6788770B1 (en) * 2003-03-27 2004-09-07 Sprint Communications Company L.P. Intelligent voice response system with navigator database
US7317789B2 (en) * 2004-01-07 2008-01-08 International Business Machines Corporation Method and apparatus for automatic telephone menu navigation
US8774394B2 (en) * 2005-04-27 2014-07-08 At&T Intellectual Property Ii, L.P. System and method for eliminating hold time in a telecommunications network

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CA2714435C (en) 2017-11-21
WO2009114498A3 (en) 2009-12-17
CA2714435A1 (en) 2009-09-17
CA2716732C (en) 2015-12-29
CA2857140A1 (en) 2009-09-17
CA2716732A1 (en) 2009-09-17
WO2009114501A1 (en) 2009-09-17
WO2009114498A2 (en) 2009-09-17

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