Xtend IVR

Pre-paid Astrology Consultation Service

An Indian Company which provides pre-paid astrology consultation services decides to use an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) for their business purposes. They decide to fully automate the consultation services except the related payments and accounts. Payments and accounts of the company will be run manually as it is operated now.

How the system works?

Any person can make use of the company's astrology consultation service using a GSM phone. At first, a caller has to register for the service by making a payment for a fixed denomination, for example INR Rs.100/-, manually with the company. Once the payment is made, the person will receive a username and personal identification number (PIN). Now, at any time, the caller can avail the consultation service via his GSM mobile phone.

The Role of an IVR System

When a caller makes a call through his GSM phone, he/she will be greeted first with a welcome message like "Welcome to Our Automated Astrology Consultation Service". Then, the caller has to select a language from a list of language options. He/she will hear a message asking him/her to press 1 for English, 2 for Hindi, 3 for Kannada, 4 for Malayalam, etc. Once the desired language is selected, the caller will be informed of the credit amount left in his/her account. If the caller is a new user, he/she will hear the full amount for which he has availed the service. If the caller has already used the service, he will hear the balance amount left in his credit.

Now, the IVR will ask the caller, after a beep, to press 1 on his GSM mobile for live consultation with an astrologer, press 2 to know the details of previous 3 calls, press 3 for more information about the service, press 4 to speak to an administration support person, press 5 to speak to an accounts person, press 6 to change your PIN number, press 7 to register a complaint about the service and press 0 to exit from the service. Once the caller presses the desired number, he will be automatically directed to that particular service.

When the caller presses 1 after the beep, he/she will be taken to the live consultation service. The caller can now talk directly to an online astrologer. When the available astrologer picks up the phone, the connection between the caller and the astrologer is established and the billing meter starts working from now onwards. Once the consultation is over, the caller and the astrologer disconnects their phone and at that moment the billing meter stops. The bill is calculated and the amount is deducted from the caller's credit automatically.

If the caller's credit limit is about to expire when the online consultation is going on with the astrologer, the caller will receive a reminder message 30 seconds before (definable) saying that the credit limit will expire after 30 seconds and the call will get terminated automatically. This feature is called Early Warning Disconnection.

When the call is over, before the caller exits, he/she will get an exit message like "Thank You for using our automated astrology consultation service. Visit again."

Technical Explanation

Twelve incoming lines through twelve FCTs are directly connected to the EPABX system of the Service Provider Company. The twelve extensions go directly from the EPABX system to the IVR & Accounting Server and from there it is directed towards the online astrologers through an 8-port Call Control Switch. Since the Call Control Switch is 8-port, we need to have two such switches for twelve lines coming from the IVR server.

Now, let us see the working of the system. When a call comes through any of the 12 FCTs connected to the EPABX system, the EPABX forwards it to the IVR & Accounting Server and from there the call is sent to the online astrologers through the Call Control Switch. By that time, the caller will be informed of the amount available for which he can consult. When any one of the free online astrologers picks up the phone, the call control switch sends a signal to the IVR & Accounting Server. The billing module in the server starts the meter reading. When the call ends, the billing meter stops, the module calculates the bill and the amount is deducted from the caller's credit automatically.

Since the accounting module is in constant check of the caller's credit amount and the time he is consulting, the module will prompt a voice message 30 seconds before (definable) the credit limit expiry to the caller at the time of consultation. If the caller still continues the call, the IVR & Accounting Server will cut off the conversation and the call using the call control switch, the moment the credit limit expire (Early Warning Disconnection).

Additional Enhancements

Voice Logging is a very useful, effective and efficient tool that can be used as an evidence for settling any accounting disputes. When the online astrologer picks up the phone, the call control switch sends a signal to the IVR & Accounting Server where the resident billing module starts meter reading. If the voice-logging feature additionally enhances the IVR system, at this time the voice-logging component can be started to record the whole conversation between the caller and the astrologer. When the call ends, the voice-logging component can be stopped automatically. This logged voice message can then be stored in the IVR Server and retrieved as and when needed.