US 20130022191 Systems and methods for visual presentation and selection of ivr menu

ABSTRACT – Embodiments of the invention provide a system for generating an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) database, the system comprising a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprising a list of telephone numbers associated with one or more destinations implementing IVR menus, wherein the one or more destinations are grouped based on a plurality of categories of the IVR menus. Further the memory includes instructions executable by said processor for automatically communicating with the one of more destinations, and receiving at least one customization record from said at least one destination to store in the IVR database.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and more specifically the invention relates to visual selection of IVR option from a caller device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is generally used to detect voice and key inputs from a caller. The advent of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems has reduced operating costs for many types of businesses for providing services. Generally, the IVR systems allow a user to interact with an audio or visual response system. The IVR systems can provide prompts to a user and receive touch tone and/or spoken responses on the prompts from the user. Through such IVR dialogue the system collects sufficient information about the user to direct the call to the most appropriate resource, information processing system or the like.
  • Generally, when the caller calls a destination, such as a bank, an automated audio IVR menu is played. The audio IVR menu can contain instructions to provide instant services such as account balance inquiry when the destination is a bank. Further, audio menu can provide options for the caller to connect to a desired end inside the destination. For example, the menu may direct the caller to press various keys on a telephone to connect to a particular department or agent. The audio IVR menu is designed specific to a destination. Therefore, each destination or organization may have different audio IVR menus. Further, the IVR menu in an organization can be based on the type of departments, type of services, customer care executives or agents and so forth. For example, an IVR menu of a bank may include options related to the account details of the caller, while an IVR menu of a pizzeria may contain options to order or select a pizza.
  • Typically, the caller calling the destination may have to listen and follow instructions on the menu to get a desired response or a function performed. Therefore, the process can be time consuming. Moreover, in case the caller provides an incorrect input, the complete process may have to be repeated. Furthermore, the IVR menu for an organization may be updated or changed regularly. For example, extension numbers inside an organization may be changed and correspondingly, the extension numbers associated with the IVR menu may be updated. As a result, a frequent caller may not be able to reach a desired end by remembering a combination of numbers. Furthermore, the dialed destination may not include the information desired by the user. In such a case, the user may have to call the destination again for retrieving the desired information. Therefore, the user may become frustrated with the IVR systems.
  • Usually, the IVR menus are same for all the users. Therefore, the customer has to listen them carefully to select the appropriate option. The user may have to wait for long time for receiving information while interacting with the IVR systems. Moreover, sometimes the requested information might not be available at the time when the user calls the destination. Therefore, the user may have to either wait for long time or call again later. For example, the user may desire to talk to a customer care executive of the destination, who is busy at the time of the call. Therefore, the call of the user may be put on hold or he may be asked to call later.
  • Some prior art try to address this problem by providing visual form of IVR. These prior arts display the IVR menu graphically on a caller device. U.S. Pat. No. 7,215,743 assigned to International Business Machines Corporation and a published U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/957,605, filed Dec. 17, 2007 and assigned to Motorola Inc., provides the IVR menu of the destination in a visual form to the caller. The caller can select the options from the IVR menu without listening to the complete audio IVR menu. However, the IVR menu displayed on the caller device is stored on an IVR server at the destination end. As a result, the visual IVR menu is specific to the destination and only the IVR of the destination dialed is displayed. These techniques therefore, require each destination to set-up hardware, software and other facilities to be deployed for providing visual IVR servers.
  • A U.S. Pat. No. 7,460,652, assigned to AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P., discloses techniques for call routing and communication with a call originator. The call may be received at an automated call handling system. Thereafter, the call is evaluated based on a set of business rules and routed to an interactive voice response unit based on the evaluation. Further, the interactive voice response unit automatically schedules and sends an email to the originator of the call. However, the scheduling of the email is performed after establishing a communication with the automated call handling system. Moreover, the scheduling is performed at the automated call handling system.
  • Another existing technique as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,560,320 assigned to International Business Machines Corporation enables an operator of the IVR to send customized signals to the caller for generating and displaying graphical elements on the device of the caller. Thereafter, the caller can respond by selecting options through touch-screen interface of the device. Dual Tone Multi frequency (DTMF) signals of the IVR. However, this technique requires a specifically configured device to interpret the codes sent as Dual Tone Multi frequency (DTMF) signals for generating the graphics. Moreover, an operator is required to present the graphics to the caller. Furthermore, specialized software and hardware are required at the operator to design and generate DTMF codes. Therefore, the technique faces various practical limitations.
  • Generally, the IVR menus of the organizations are in form of audible menu. Moreover, there are a large number of organizations that use IVR menus. Therefore, converting the audible menus to visual IVR menus can be time consuming. An existing technique, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,920,425 assigned to Nortel Networks Limited, discloses an automated script to convert the audible menus scripts to visual IVR menu scripts. However, the audible menus scripts must be available in a particular format to enable the conversion. Furthermore, the audio menu scripts must be available or downloadable for the program to function. As a result, only the audio menus scripts that are available can be converted to visual IVR menu scripts. Furthermore, the device of the caller must be designed or programmed to understand the visual IVR menu scripts.
  • Various organizations encourage the customers to call them for information on their products or services, or for helping existing customers. Generally, a contact number is provided by the organizations on their website as a button. Therefore, when the customer presses the button a form is displayed. The customer then enters his contact number where an executive from the organization may call. However, this may be time consuming for the customer. Moreover, the customer may be not being able to talk to another executive during the call in case the on-line executive is not able to satisfy the customer. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/049,021, filed Mar. 14, 2008 and assigned to Harprit Singh, provides methods and systems for displaying an IVR menu, when the caller clicks a link on a webpage provided by the organization. However, the customer is still required to request the webpage with embedded information from a server of the organization. Moreover, the methods and systems are limited to the organizations that provide the required webpage to the customers. Other technologies include U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/877,952 filed Oct. 24, 2007 and assigned to International Business Machine Corporation.
  • The effectiveness of providing the IVR in visual form is discussed in a technical paper titled, ‘The Benefits of Augmenting Telephone Voice Menu Navigation with Visual Browsing and Search’ by Min Yin et al. The paper discusses a setup where visual content of the IVR is sent from a service provider to a computer connected to a mobile phone. However, the technique discussed in the paper is limited to the visual content provided by the service provider’s end, after the connection is established. Moreover, the providers are required to individually set up the hardware and services for providing visual content.
  • As discussed above the existing technologies have various limitations. Hence, techniques are desired for providing enhanced telephony.

SUMMARY

  • An enhanced telephone system is provided. The telephone system comprises a database that comprises one or more phone numbers and one or more menus corresponding to the phone numbers, wherein the menus comprise one or more options for selection. The telephone system comprises means for comparing a dialed number to the phone numbers in the database; means for displaying a menu based on a result of the comparison; means for enabling selection of the one or more options from the displayed menu; and means for establishing a connection with a destination of the dialed number based on the selection of the one or more options.
  • An enhanced telephone system is provided. The telephone system comprises a database comprising one or more phone numbers and one or more menus corresponding to the phone numbers, wherein the menus comprises one or more options for selection; means for comparing the a received number of a received call to the phone numbers in the database; means for displaying a menu based on a result of the comparison; and means for enabling selection of the one or more options from the displayed menu.
  • Further, a method for providing enhanced telephony is provided. The method comprising identifying a number dialed from a telephone system; comparing the dialed number to one or more phone numbers stored in a database, wherein the database comprises one or more menus corresponding to the phone numbers, and wherein the menus comprises one or more options for selection; and displaying on the telephone system a menu from the database based on a result of the comparison.
  • A caller may dial or select a phone number from a device of a destination. The phone number is detected by a Visuphone implemented on the device to display a visual IVR menu corresponding to the audible IVR menu of the destination. Visuphone may be hardware, an application stored as a software or firmware on the device, or a combination thereof. Visuphone may include a database of visual IVR menus corresponding to audible IVR menus for various destinations. Thereafter, the caller may interact with the visual IVR menu displayed on the device to establish a connection with the destination. Furthermore, Visuphone may detect and launch a VOIP application for establishing the connection. Moreover, Visuphone may provide pre-recorded or computer synthesized audio responses on behalf of the caller to the destination.
  • An aspect of the invention is to generate a database of visual IVR menus. The database generation could be done by successive calling the IVR and combined with voice recognition. Calling the IVR systems can be done manually by operators that will listen to options of the IVR and enter these options into the database. In this manual mode, the operator will dial IVR numbers from a list and for each of them will follow all the options in several levels and in each level, enter the menu entries into the database. This can be done to many different IVR phone numbers, by one or multiple operators. The voice menu can be recorded to for analyzing in a different process or a different time.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to generate a database of visual IVR menus by a computer system. Combination of hardware and software that is connected to phone system and automatically dials the IVR phone numbers, record the different options of the voice menu, analyze the voice menu and generate and enter the different entries into the database. The system will generate the voice tone that simulates the relevant touchtone of a phone number pressed. This process will be done in several levels until covering all the entries in all the levels of the specific IVR system. This process is done for all the IVR phone number in the list.
  • Additional alternative is to access the IVR internal database and download the menu. This approach requires the collaboration with the IVR maker and at least permission from the IVR owner. Having both a system could be build to access IVR using their maintenance port, which is often connected to the Internet. Accordingly, the system would access the IVR and once authorized by the IVR owner it will download the internal file representing the IVR menu, which could be called the IVR customization record. The downloaded file would then be converted to visual IVR menu by utility that could be design according to the format, which could be provided by the IVR maker.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to provide to a caller using a device a visual IVR menu corresponding to an audible IVR menu of a destination.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to enable the caller to directly interact with the visual IVR menu without listening to the audible IVR menu of the destination.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to provide the visual IVR menu to the caller before establishing a connection of the device with the destination.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to provide advertisements related to the destination or function of the destination dialed by the caller.
  • Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide a visual IVR menu of a destination according to the location of the communication device of a caller and/or a location of the dialed destination phone number.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide an enhanced communication device. The enhanced communication device comprises a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprises a database including one or more destination phone numbers and at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers Further, the memory comprises instructions executable by the processor for identifying a dialed phone number of a destination, determining a location code associated with a current location of the communication device, comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database, and displaying at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide an enhanced communication device. The enhanced communication device comprises a database including one or more destination phone numbers and at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers. Further, the enhanced communication device comprises means for identifying a dialed phone number of a destination, means for determining a location code associated with a current location of the communication device, means for comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database, and means for displaying at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a method for providing enhanced telephony. The method includes identifying a phone number of a destination dialed from a communication device; determining a location code associated with a current location of the communication device; and comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database. The database may include at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers. Further, the method includes displaying the at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide an enhanced device. The enhanced device comprises a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprises a database including one or more destination phone numbers and at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers Further, the memory comprises instructions executable by the processor for identifying a dialed phone number of a destination, determining a location code associated with a current location of the device, comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database, and displaying at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide an enhanced device. The enhanced device comprises a database including one or more destination phone numbers and at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers. Further, the enhanced device comprises means for identifying a dialed phone number of a destination, means for determining a location code associated with a current location of the device, means for comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database, and means for displaying at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a method for providing enhanced telephony. The method includes identifying a phone number of a destination dialed from a device; determining a location code associated with a current location of the device; and comparing the dialed phone number to one or more destination phone numbers stored in a database. The database may include at least one property associated with the destination phone numbers. Further, the method includes displaying the at least one property associated with the one or more destination phone numbers based on the comparison.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a device comprising a database comprising a plurality of visual IVR menus associated with a plurality of destinations. The device further comprises means for dialing a phone number of a destination, means for comparing the dialed phone number with phone numbers stored in the database, and means for displaying a form based on the comparison, wherein the form comprises one or more data request fields corresponding to a visual IVR menu associated with the dialed destination.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a device comprising a processor. Further, the device comprises a memory comprising a database. The database comprises a plurality of visual IVR menus associated with a plurality of destinations. Further, the memory comprises instructions executable by the processor for dialing a phone number of a destination, comparing the dialed phone number with phone numbers stored in the database, and displaying a form based on the comparison, wherein the form comprises one or more data request fields corresponding to a visual IVR menu associated with the dialed destination.
  • Further, a method for providing enhanced telephony is disclosed. The method comprises dialing, at a device, a phone number of a destination. The device comprises a plurality of visual IVR menus associated with a plurality of destinations. Further, the method comprises comparing the dialed phone number with phone numbers stored in the device. Furthermore, the method comprises displaying, at the device, a form based on the comparison, wherein the form comprises one or more data request fields corresponding to a visual IVR menu associated with the dialed destination.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a device for scheduling a call to a destination based on predefined calling information. The device comprises a database comprising at least one visual IVR menu associated with each of a plurality of destinations. The device also comprises means for dialing a phone number of a destination of the plurality of destinations based on the predefined calling information, wherein the predefined calling information is selected from a visual IVR menu associated with the destination; means for receiving information from the dialed destination based on the predefined calling information; and means for displaying the received information.
  • Embodiments of the invention disclose a method for providing scheduling a call to a destination based on predefined calling information. The method comprises dialing a phone number of a destination of a plurality of destinations based on the predefined calling information, wherein the predefined calling information is selected from a visual IVR menu associated with the destination. Further, the method comprises receiving information from the dialed destination based on the predefined calling information. Furthermore, the method comprises displaying the received information.
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide a device. The device comprises a processor. Further, the device comprises a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprises a database comprising at least one IVR menu associated with at least one IVR system. Further, the memory comprises instructions executable by the processor for sending a first section of a data packet to a second communication device. The first section comprising first information is sent based on a visual IVR menu associated with the second communication device. Further, the memory comprises instructions executable by the processor for receiving an acknowledgement message from the second communication device based on the first section of the data packet. Furthermore, the memory includes instructions executable by the processor for sending a second section of the data packet to the second communication device based on the acknowledgement message. The second section comprises second information.
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for communicating among a plurality of communication devices. The method comprises sending, by a device, a first section of a data packet to a second communication device. The first section comprising first information is sent based on a visual Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu associated with at least one IVR system. Further, the method comprises receiving, at the device, an acknowledgement message from the second communication device based on the first section of the data packet. Furthermore, the method comprises sending, by the device, a second section of the data packet to the second communication device based on the acknowledgement message. The second section comprises second information.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a method for establishing a communication session in a communication network. The method comprises dialling, by a device, a phone number of a second communication device. The second communication device comprises an IVR system. Further, the method comprises detecting, by the device, a data network. Furthermore, the method comprises sending, by the device, a first section of a data packet to the dialled second communication device when the data network is detected. The first section comprises first information.
  • Embodiments of the invention provide a communication device comprising a database comprising a plurality of visual Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus associated with a plurality of destinations. The communication device further comprises means for dialing a phone number of a destination, means for comparing the dialed phone number with phone numbers stored in the database, and means for displaying a form based on the comparison, wherein the form comprises one or more data request fields corresponding to a visual IVR menu associated with the dialed destination.
  • A method for providing enhanced telephony is disclosed. The method comprises dialing, at a communication device, a phone number of a destination. The communication device comprises a plurality of visual IVR menus associated with a plurality of destinations. Further, the method comprises comparing the dialed phone number with phone numbers stored in the communication device. Furthermore, the method comprises displaying, at the communication device, a form based on the comparison, wherein the form comprises one or more data request fields corresponding to a visual IVR menu associated with the dialed destination.
  • An aspect of the invention is to provide updates to the visual IVR menus stored in the device.
  • An aspect of the invention is to provide the visual IVR menu when the call is forwarded from one destination to another.
  • Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a method for displaying, at a device, a visual IVR menu associated with a phone number of a calling device. Further, the method displays one or more communication options at the device.
  • Another aspect of the invention is to enable a user at the device to interact with the visual IVR menu of the calling first party device without listening to the audible IVR menu of the first party device.
  • Yet another aspect of the invention is to enable a portable device or device to connect to an external device with better display capabilities.
  • Further aspect of the invention is to provide the visual IVR menu of a first party device to a user of a device before establishing a communication session between the device and the first party device.
  • Additional aspect of the invention is an automatic learning of caller choice and uses that for assisting the caller in his future calls.

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