CT Pros Blog

Custom IVR Development Designed to Expand Your Customer Service Options

Mar 27, 2017

IVR development

As a ShoreTel Summit Partner, we are excited to be one of the leading innovators in the growing and emerging market of the CPaaS IVR development platform, Summit. In this post, we explain what Summit is (you can read more here on our ShoreTel Summit page) and how it can benefit you and your business.

What is ShoreTel Summit?

ShoreTel Summit is an online cloud based IVR development platform that allows businesses to create custom IVR (interactive voice recognition) systems for specific purposes for their callers. 

The Summit platform is a Communications Platform as a Service, which means it is hosted and run online, relieving you of many unnecessary technical headaches.  There's a great article that dives into the use of CPaaS much deeper which provides examples of CPaaS and how it benefits business operations from marketing to customer service to overall lower telecom costs.  We recommend you check it out!

The above is a fairly generic and high level definition and unless you’re already familiar with the concept you might still be left scratching your head as to what that really means. 

A custom IVR system, like one created with the Summit platform offers a way for your callers to either provide information or access information through an automated interactive phone system that would otherwise require the use of a live agent.  We’ll provide some basic examples further down.

Does Summit Replace Your Existing Phone System?

First, let’s make it clear that when we are talking about the custom IVR we are not talking about replacing your existing PBX (hosted or on-prem).   The systems we develop with Summit can operate like add-on IVRs that can be accessed from the main PBX through the use of a prompt or by a direct dial number provided to your callers. 

How Can Your Business Benefit from a Custom IVR?

There are lots of ways you can benefit with an IVR designed specifically for your business.  From financial, to operational, to improved brand reputation, the benefits are great.

Reduce overhead expenses

Yes, purchasing a custom IVR can save you money.  For example, if using an IVR for a 24x7 self-service mechanism for your callers, a business may not need to hire as many call agents since the IVR provides an automated method for servicing customer requests.   That helps manage employee costs.

Also, since the Summit IVR platform uses its own SIP carrier, you are only paying for the time that is used while the caller is in the IVR system, unlike calling to speak with a live person where you are charged for the time the caller is on hold or being transferred between live agents. 

Lower per minute rates

The Summit platform uses SIP trunks with its cloud-based IVR system.  SIP trunks use the internet to transmit calls rather than traditional carrier connections such as copper or analog.  Generally, SIP carriers usage charges are 30-50% cheaper than non-SIP carriers. 

Flexible uses for the short term or long term


Custom IVRs have endless possibilities.  If you’re unclear how your business could put one to use, keep reading.  As soon as you see some of the examples below the ideas will start flooding in as to ways it can directly benefit your particular business.

Short term IVR examples are promotional surveys, political donation campaigns,  customer feedback surveys.   These are IVR uses that can be created with a specific time period and for a specific purpose.

Long term IVR uses may be for ongoing customer feedback surveys used at the end of every customer agent live interaction.  Scheduling and appointment setting and confirmation dialers.  

An example would be when a business uses the automated system to send reminders to customers that have an appointment the following day such as with a dentist, or a visit from an appliance repairman. 

Advanced Integrated Uses

Custom IVRs go far beyond customer surveys and marketing purposes.  Your IVR can be integrated with any backend database.  Examples include CRMs used for membership accounts, financial systems, and with other IVRs (such as your main PBX). 

Health insurance companies can use the Summit IVR system to help members check the status of claim applications or member eligibility options.  Businesses can use custom IVRs to allow customers to make bill payments or allow potential customers to sign up for services or request call backs. 

The options truly are endless when it comes to developing your own IVR application.  

Who Develops the IVR to Make this Happen?

You don’t have to be a programmer to take advantage of the Summit platform.  As a ShoreTel Summit partner, we have the talent already to create your application for you.   We will listen to what your goals are, what your vision is.  We will help you think through all the various angles, and when it's completed, you end up with exactly what you want. 

What About IVR Reporting?

Custom IVRs are extremely useful and helpful to building a solid customer service experience.  However, what good is it if you can’t take a look to see what works and what doesn’t?  How can you truly gauge if your IVR system is effective?

For example, are there any dropped calls during heavy promotions?  Are customers hanging up half way through an important survey?  Are customers choosing to exit and talk with a live agent in the middle of processing a payment?

These are all indicators that there is room for improvement.   To measure the success of an IVR, you need to see the metrics as it relates to caller behavior. 

Our team can generate IVR reports for the Summit platform and any platform for that matter.  We have standard reports and the ability to customize additional reports to pull the data you want to see, and how you want to see it.

Contact us today to start planning your custom IVR development project.


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