Interactive Voice Response

Fastcall uses Interactive Voice Responses to handle ongoing calls. An IVR tells Fastcall to perform a certain action, like playing a message, interacting with the person on the call, or modifying the flow of the call.

IVRs have five possible actions:
  • Call transfer
  • Time based routing
  • Menu
  • Voicemail
  • Play directory

IVRs start with an optional greeting: “Hello, thank you for calling…”. Then depending on your setup, you might give instructions such as “press 1 for a directory”. Your recorded messages are created in the Fastcall settings page, in the Messages section.

The IVRs are created first, and can be assigned to a phone number. When an inbound call arrives to a phone number with an IVR assigned, the IVR instructions tell Fastcall how to handle the incoming call. Users can also transfer an in-progress call to an IVR.
An IVR Call Transfer action can route the call to a User, a Group, or a fixed phone number. Here we will discuss the use case for group call routing.

TIP: We advise that you start with time based routing so that calls received after hours are either sent to an overflow call center or voicemail. Otherwise, these after-hour calls will be reported as missed.

Call transfer

Fastcall Users and Groups and managed in the Settings tab. These are basically Salesforce’s Users and Groups, but have to be enabled in Fastcall to maintain extra metadata relevant to the application.

Groups are used for different purposes in Fastcall, among these, defining different sets of Users that can be used when performing automatic call distribution (ACD).

A Call Transfer IVR specifies a destination for the call and some settings, like how long to wait for a response, what to do if nobody answers, etc. The call transfer has a “No Answer” IVR option, defining next steps to follow if the initial transfer doesn’t connect. Using the No Answer IVR, calls can be rolled-over to another Group, sent to Voicemail, to a Menu, etc. Transfers can also be nested. You can move from Group to Group for example 2 Users then 2 Users; or even one User to one User.

NOTE: The Fastcall ACD settings were under their own tab. We moved them and merged into the IVR settings.

When calls are distributed to a group of users, the default is a round-robin mechanism, where users are tried one after the other, and then again in the same order if no one answered. The users relative order is maintained between calls, however the initial position/index in the list is shifted one place on each new call, so calls are distributed evenly over time. Users are removed from the pool when they answer a call, and then added back once they complete it, so they are eligible to answer a call again.

NOTE: Available users will receive calls. Users who are on active calls or offline, will not.

The Fastcall User Panel lists all Users and their status. Here, admins can navigate to the User settings or listen to active calls. Standard Fastcall users will see other users, but do not have editing rights and cannot listen to calls.

Users can be filtered by status or type for easier navigation in the users panel. Fastcall will show the last login or logout time for each User. We also have a setting to automatically logout a user after N missed calls. Under Inbound Calls / Missed Calls.

Users answer ACD calls on a designated call receiver. This can be the Fastcall softphone or a hardphone. We do not recommend a mobile phone.

Time based routing

Using this IVR you can route a call based on the time of the day. You must specify a Time Zone so that the times expressed in the configuration make sense.

You should start by choosing a default route, so all calls that do not fall inside any of the defined periods, are routed to this IVR.

Then you can define time periods, by means of a Start Time, End time, and days of the week, and map each of those periods to a specific IVR.

We advise creating a time schedule for all group provisioned numbers. Not only are calls routed outside of working hours, but these calls are not reported as missed.

Menu

You can use a Menu to request input from the person on the phone. You can present a set of options, and map each option with another IVR. When input is received, call is routed to the IVR corresponding to the selected option.

Thus, you can create a menu hierarchy that can be navigated by pressing digits on your phone, with some options linking to sub-menus, and other linking to a transfer, voicemail, etc.
Example: “Press 1 to hear a directory, Press 2 to transfer”

Press 1 → IVR Menu1
Press 2 → IVR Menu2

The menu option requires a 2nd level of IVRs and these children IVRs must be created first.

Voice Mail

Use this IVR to let user record voice audio after playing an optional intro message. A Voice Mail record will be created and related to the Call, with the URL of the recorded audio message. A native Task record might also be created unless the Fastcall Administrator disables this in the Settings page under.

Play directory

Fastcall Users can have extensions  – and can either record their own names, or use text-to-speech (TTS) to read the name. When using the Fastcall Directory you can read all users with Fastcall licenses or chose a Group.  

The Directory IVR supports the following options:

  • Loop times – how many times should the menu repeat
  • Wait time – how long to wait for user input
  • Scope – read only users in a group or all users (org wide)

NOTE: User names are taken from the Salesforce User profile settings. And each User can record her name under My Settings > User Settings.

Reporting

Each call to a Fastcall Phone Number creates a call record. If the Phone Number is associated to an IVR, the IVR is tracked in the Connection. Calls can have multiple connections. Each call transfer creates a connection, for example. Within connections, each attempt on a user creates a Connection Attempt.

Fastcall reports this in a custom report: Calls, Connections and Attempts.

We report wait times, durations, users and a lookup to the IVR that received the call.

Coming soon

  • Time out after receiving an inbound call
  • Improved call dashboard

 

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