[label type=”important”]Hardware/Software Companies[/label]
Automated -call distribution systems can route callers to the next available support technician, minimizing customer waiting time. Customers can verify their registration or account status by entering serial or registration numbers before the call is routed to support staff. Using answers to voice prompts, systems can also categorize each caller’s problem and direct them to the appropriate support staff. As another way to direct calls accurately and quickly, different DNIS numbers can be printed in user manuals for different products or types of support problems, saving callers the trouble of answering voice prompts. Fax-on-demand systems can route callers to order the appropriate product information, technical updates, diagrams, or answers to frequently asked questions. This alleviates the staff support load and provides some troubleshooting help on weekends and off-hours. Unified messaging systems allow support staff to see, prioritize, and answer all stored support requests — via voice mail, fax, and e-mail — from one screen.
[label type=”important”]Health Care[/label]
Hospitals can use an automated attendant and messaging system to free the switchboard for more important matters. Callers who need to reach patients or find out about their status call in and enter the patient’s last name. The system transfers the call to the patient’s room, if appropriate, or plays a recorded message about the patient’s condition. Callers can also leave messages for the patient. In addition, the hospital provides recorded information about visiting hours.
A Computer Telephony system can help automate the process of making an appointment with the doctor. Patients call at any time and enter their name. They are prompted to select an available date and time. Cancellations can also be phoned in at any time. A computer processes the information and sends it to a printer so the medical staff has a weekly schedule. The system is programmed to place a recorded reminder call to each patient the day before an appointment.
People taking prescription drugs dial a number to obtain information about their specific medication. Information includes relative cost, generic substitutes, potential side effects, and drug interactions.
People applying for jobs or for health insurance are often asked for medical records. If doctors and hospitals keep these records in a computer database, they can be faxed automatically to a designated number. Callers dial in and enter a password and security code (to protect the system and their personal records). Once their identity is verified, they are prompted to enter the telephone number of the person or organization that should receive the faxed records.
With appropriate password protection, doctors and/or patients can dial in to hear the results of lab work as they are read out from a database.
Hotel guests schedule their own wake-up calls by dialing a number and answering a series of prompts by pressing the appropriate touch tone digits on their telephone keypad. The system places a wake-up call at the scheduled hour. If the call is not answered, or the line is busy, the system waits a programmed interval of time and places the call again.
A hotel can use a Computer Telephony system in place of a concierge, or as a backup when the concierge is not on duty. Guests call a special hotel extension and hear a menu of options such as local restaurants, entertainment, or hotel services. Other menus narrow the choices by prompting them to enter, for example, the type of food they would like. The system is designed to place calls automatically once a selection is made.
Hotel guests are assigned voice mailbox numbers and passwords for the duration of their stay, or as a special courtesy to business travelers, for several days after their departure. Guests can call into the system from their hotel room or from a pay telephone to record or retrieve a message at any time. Message waiting lights alert guests to stored messages.
The process of reserving a hotel room and ordering other hotel-related services (transportation, meals, etc.) can be automated by a Computer Telephony system. Callers are prompted to enter the city they wish to visit in order to hear a list of local hotels. Once a hotel is selected, current rates are provided, and reservations are taken. A confirmation number is provided automatically. The system can transfer callers to a live operator if they have any questions or problems that cannot be resolved.