Automated phone systems are a familiar element in every consumer’s daily life, as they are used by almost every major government service or customer service centre of major consumer brands. An automated phone system is basically a phone system which can interact with caller without any human interaction. Yes, it’s when you call your bank or phone company or benefits centre and no human ever, ever picks up the phone, but you still get some service.
Interactive voice response or IVR is the technology used instead: callers either say what they need or type it on the telephone pad, and the machine understands.
There are three types of automated phone systems:
- inbound systems are those everybody knows about, when a machine answers a human call - they are used by customer service centres;
- outbound systems are used when humans need to be called by machines, either to deliver a pre-recorded message, or to put the human in touch with another human - they are typically used by telemarketers;
- hybrid systems allow machines to both make and take calls.
Automated phone systems bring many benefits to both profit and not-for-profit organisations, helping them to cut costs by delivering accurate answers and service to simple queries by consumers without the need to tie any staff to this procedure, but also by delivering strong marketing messages at a low price.
Consumers may see it differently. Inbound systems, are sometimes used to make it impossible for a consumer to reach human assistance, even when automated responses and solutions are insufficient. Outbound systems are often seen as intrusive and aggressive.
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