US 8548131 Systems and methods for communicating with an interactive voice response system

ABSTRACT – Embodiments of the present invention provide a communication device. The communication device comprises a processor. Further, the communication device comprises a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprises a database comprising at least one visual Interactive Voice Response (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.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system and more specifically the invention relates to establishing a communication session among plurality of communication devices comprising an IVR application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is generally used to detect voice and key inputs from a caller. Various organizations such as banks, insurance companies, and other service providers use IVR technology to manage calls from their customers. Typically, IVR systems are used by organizations that have high call volumes. An objective for implementing the IVR systems is to provide the customers with a quick and good experience. Moreover, the cost of providing the services is reduced.

Generally, when the caller calls a destination, such as a bank, an automated audio 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 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. Therefore, the caller may become frustrated with the IVR systems.

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 with 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 dialled is displayed. These techniques therefore, require each destination to set-up hardware, software and other facilities to be deployed for providing visual IVR servers.

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 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 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 menu scripts. Furthermore, the device of the caller must be designed or programmed to understand the visual menu scripts.

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. Therefore, system and method are desired for communicating among IVR enabled communication devices.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention provide a communication device. The communication device comprises a processor. Further, the communication device comprises a memory coupled to the processor. The memory comprises a database comprising at least one visual Interactive Voice Response (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.

An aspect of the invention is to provide a communication device for communicating with a second communication device. The communication device includes an IVR application such as Visuphone. In an embodiment, the second communication device also includes the IVR application such as Visuphone.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for communicating among a plurality of communication devices. The method comprises sending, by a communication 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 communication 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 communication 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 communication device, a phone number of a second communication device. The second communication device comprises an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Further, the method comprises detecting, by the communication device, a data network. Furthermore, the method comprises sending, by the communication 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.

An aspect of the invention is to provide a method for establishing a communication session in a communication network. The communication session may be established between two or more IVR enabled devices.

Another aspect of the invention is to provide a method for establishing a communication session among a plurality of communication devices. The communication devices may or may not include Visuphone.

Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide a method for establishing a communication session among a plurality of communication devices. The communication session is established by sending one or more packets when a data network such as the Internet is available.

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