Section 5.7. CTI Applications


5.7. CTI Applications

CTI (computer telephony integration) applications combine the telephony functions of a PBX with database or personal productivity functions on a personal computer or web site.

5.7.1. Automated Attendants

Automated attendant applications answer calls using a recorded voice and then respond to caller commands that have been issued through DTMF tonesusually from the buttons pressed on the caller's dial-pad. Automated attendants can transfer calls to private phone system users in the absence of a human console attendant.

5.7.1.1 Interactive voice response and data collection

IVR is the technology underlying the autoattendant. Because IVR enables customized voice greetings and response handling, it lets callers have much more sophisticated interaction with the system. Callers may be able to enter their responses by dialing digits or, on more advanced systems with voice recognition, by speaking their responses.

5.7.1.2 Privacy management

One common use for IVR and caller ID is privacy management. It's possible to use CTI applications to recognize and attend to certain kinds of incoming calls automatically, based on their caller ID information. One approach is to have the application greet the caller, record the caller's name , and then ring an internal phone to ask the local party whether she wishes to speak with the person on the recording. If the local party indicates "no," the call is disconnected, but if she indicates "yes," the call is allowed to proceed as normal with both parties connected. This application is offered by most local telephone companies.

Asterisk has a built-in privacy management application that uses IVR to capture the caller's identity when he hasn't provided a caller ID. This application, PrivacyManager( ) , is called from the Asterisk dial-plan configuration in /etc/asterisk/extensions.conf .


5.7.2. Call Centers

Call centers are the telecom equivalent of data centers: a concentration of application resources dedicated to a concentration of users. In English, a whole bunch of phones and telephony processes running in a relatively confined space. Call centers can be vast gardens of telephony apps, complex dial-plans, and high-capacity call-switching equipment.

Insurance claims processing departments are call centers, filled with armies of telephone operators, CTI applications, and friendly IVR bots that take information from customers and facilitate an appropriate response over the phone. When you call an 800 number on the TV shopping channel, you're calling a call center, and it's likely filled with dozens, or hundreds, of telephone operators, normally configured in large inbound hunt groups. Telemarketers and market research companies use call centers in reverse: they primarily make outbound calls; theirs are outbound call centers.

Supporting a call center may be one or more PBX systems and special-purpose IVR servers running customized software that has been built for specific customer-service or knowledge-processing applications. Often they include a voice mail system and a well-integrated email system, too.



Switching to VoIP
Switching to VoIP
ISBN: 0596008686
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 172

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