People wishing to order tickets call a Computer Telephony system and select from a menu of upcoming events. They are prompted to enter the area of the arena or hall where they wish to sit and are told if seats are available and in what section. Once tickets are selected, callers are prompted for a credit card number. Once credit validation is obtained, they are prompted to enter an address and phone number so that the tickets can be mailed.
Information on upcoming concerts can be provided more effectively by a Computer Telephony system. Callers are presented with a menu of choices and are able to select the concert information they are interested in, instead of having to listen to a long list of current events. Sponsors of each event are given an access number to record late-breaking information, or they can have the performing artist leave a message for callers. Callers may also choose to be connected to selected box offices.
A computer can be programmed to take information from callers and generate a personalized horoscope instead of the standard ones normally offered over the phone. Fax-on-demand options can deliver a printed copy.
Crossword puzzle fans who get stuck trying to complete the daily puzzle in the newspaper call and get answers by entering the “down” or “across” number of the clue. A surcharge is added to the cost of the call to generate revenue for the newspaper. A fax-out option can return a fresh copy of the day’s puzzle.
976/900 services provide pre-recorded information or entertainment services such as news, sports results, or weather. Callers dial a number and hear a recording. Generally a surcharge is added to the normal price of the call. A more elaborate system lets callers choose from a menu of options or connects them to operators or to other callers.
Callers dial to hear up-to-the-minute sports scores or results.
Theater Movie Schedules
Customers place a call and find out what movies or shows are currently playing and the location of the theater. Return-fax options can also send maps, seating diagrams, or promotional coupons.
Account Balances And Transfers
Bank customers dial a number and enter their account number and password to gain access to a variety of services and information, including fund transfers, loan payments and balances, deposits and current interest rates.
Investors want to know how their investments are doing without waiting for the evening paper or calling their broker. A Computer Telephony system accesses individual customer profiles stored in a database that is automatically updated during the day. This permits investors to call at any hour and hear an item-by-item account providing the status of their investments.
An automated cash management system allows store managers to call in from any area of the country to report their deposits. There is no need to wait a day or two for bank receipts to be forwarded to the company’s finance department. Data received by phone can be calculated by a central computer, and reports can be generated in far less time. This means less delay for financial officers who need to make up-to-the-minute cash management decisions.
Currency CD Rates
Up-to-the-minute prices on foreign currency and certificates of deposits are of particular interest to traders and investors. Callers can dial in and access current rate information by telephone. A more sophisticated system allows for purchase via funds transfer.
Lending Rate Information
Consumers who wish to borrow money dial in to obtain current interest rates. The system also provides an interactive loan questionnaire that prompts them to enter information about the amount of their loan and the desired repayment schedule and uses this information to calculate payments.
City, state and federal tax authorities provide customers with free tax assistance by telephone. Callers choose from a menu of topics and subtopics that explain the relevant tax laws and how to complete tax forms. Private firms can provide personal tax assistance for a fee by directing callers to agents who answer their questions over the phone.
Credit Card Account Information And Collection
Credit card companies currently direct callers to agents who answer their questions personally. Not all calls require personal assistance, particularly those involving questions about account balances. A Computer Telephony system asks callers for their account number and provides them with current account information. Callers retain the option of transferring to an agent at any time. On the outbound side, credit collection calls can be automated, reminding those called that payments are overdue and prompting them for expected payment dates and amounts.
When local governments need input from citizens on important issues, the telephone number of a Computer Telephony system can be printed in a mailing or in a local newspaper. Callers record their opinions or answer a series of structured questions by entering touch tone digits. The system prompts callers for their address or phone number in order to provide them with the results of the survey or follow-up information on the issue. A computer compiles the collected data in various report formats, broken down by city or area.
In the event of such emergencies as fires, floods, blackouts, earthquakes, toxic spills, and prison escapes, emergency notification applications dial out from stored databases and play stored or ad hoc announcements to notify responding parties. As part of an emergency evacuation plan, for example, a bulk out-dialing application can notify whole floors of office buildings at once in a sequence that empties the building with minimum delay and maximum orderliness.
Embassies provide recorded information on visa requirements in any number of languages. Callers learn what documents are required and are provided with necessary phone numbers and addresses.
Travelers going abroad call a telephone number and are prompted to choose the country they will be visiting. They hear a recording that contains up-to-the-minute information about matters that might affect them, including weather, natural disasters, local travel conditions and health advisories. The system plays these recordings in a number of languages.
A Computer Telephony system is programmed to poll callers by asking them a series of structured questions that they answer by pressing touch tone digits. The results are tabulated by computer and sent to a printer.
Election campaigns can use an automated out-dialing poll to identify which geographic regions or demographic groups are already committed to their candidates and where support is weak. Those called are polled through IVR to determine if they have already picked their candidate, and if not, they are given a choice of issues that they can rank on a numeric scale of importance via touch tone.
Callers dial in and receive up-to-the-minute election results.
Chamber Of Commerce Information
The local Chamber of Commerce provides a dial-in information service that informs callers about available municipal services and regulations.
Government Services Hotline
Local, state and federal governments provide recorded information on available services in any number of languages. These can include health advisories and audiotex directories to live crisis lines.
In many cities, callers can dial a number and select from a menu of choices describing postal services and regulations. More sophisticated systems allow them to purchase stamps and pay by credit card.
Tax Return Filing
Those filing uncomplicated tax returns can dial into an IVR system and input information from their W-2 forms. The system calculates tax or refund due, prepares the bill or refund, and mails it to the taxpayer upon receipt of written verification.
Traffic reports are provided by radio and television, but normally during commuting hours. A Computer Telephony system allows callers to dial in at any time and identify the particular roads they are interested in to listen to a report about existing conditions.
Eligibility to vote is normally determined by checking existing records (tax, motor vehicles, Social Security) to determine a person’s address, citizenship, and years of residency. A Computer Telephony system can automate the procedure. Callers dial in and are prompted to enter pertinent information such as name, address, citizenship, etc. A database search is generated to verify the information, and each caller is mailed a voter registration card. Problem cases are flagged for referral to investigators. Registered voters can use the system to find out where they vote.