US 8681951 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. Further, a corresponding method for generating an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) database is also provided.

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

Embodiments of the present invention provide a system for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising one or more Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The system includes a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory includes a database comprising a list of telephone numbers associated with the plurality of destinations. Further, the memory includes instructions executable by the processor for automatically selecting at least one visual IVR menu from said database and displaying said at least one visual IVR menu to a user. The at least one visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from the list of telephone numbers. Further the at least one visual IVR menu includes at least one icon.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a system for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising one or more Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The system includes a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory includes a database comprising a list of telephone numbers associated with the plurality of destinations. Further, the memory includes instructions executable by the processor for automatically selecting at least one visual IVR menu from the database and displaying the at least one visual IVR menu to a user. The visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from the list of telephone numbers. Furthermore, the database includes at least two records associated with at least two distinct destinations. Each of the at least two records includes a business category field, and each of the at least two records have the same business category. Additionally, the database includes a standard menu for said same business category.

Here, the database includes at least one record based on personal information of the user that may be filled in a form displayed, to the user, by the system.

In an aspect of the invention, a system selects and displays at least one advertisement along with a visual IVR menu. The at least one advertisement may be selected and display based on a category of the visual IVR menu. Further, the visual IVR menu and the advertisement are displayed based on the time of dialing of the telephone number by a user.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a system for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The system includes a processor and a memory coupled to the processor. The memory includes a database comprising a list of telephone numbers associated with the plurality of destinations. Further, the memory includes instructions executable by the processor for automatically selecting at least one visual IVR menu from the database and displaying the at least one visual IVR menu to a user. The at least one visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from the list of telephone numbers. Further, the memory includes instructions executable by the processor for selecting and displaying at least one advertisement. The at least one advertisement is selected based on at least one category associated with the at least one visual IVR menu.

In an aspect of the invention, a telephone number may be dialed through a portable device and at least one IVR menu, corresponding to the dialed telephone number, may be displayed through an external device.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising one or more Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The method includes selecting at least one visual IVR menu from a database at a device automatically. The database includes a list of telephone numbers associated with a plurality of destinations. The method further includes displaying the at least one visual IVR menu to a user. The at least one visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from the list of telephone numbers. Further the at least one visual IVR menu includes at least one icon.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising one or more Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The method includes selecting at least one visual IVR menu from a database at a device automatically. The database includes a list of telephone numbers associated with the plurality of destinations. Further, the method includes displaying the at least one visual IVR menu to a user. The visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from the list of telephone numbers. Further, the database includes at least two records associated with at least two distinct destinations. Furthermore, each of the at least two records includes a business category field, and each of said at least two records have the same business category. Also, the database includes a standard menu for the same business category.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for enhancing user interaction with a plurality of destinations comprising Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. The method includes selecting automatically at least one visual IVR menu from a database at a device. The database includes a list of telephone numbers associated with the plurality of destinations. Further, the method includes displaying said at least one visual IVR menu to a user, wherein said at least one visual IVR menu is associated with a telephone number dialed by the user from a list of telephone numbers. Furthermore, the method includes selecting and displaying at least one advertisement. The at least one advertisement is selected based on at least one category associated with said at least one visual IVR menu.

In an aspect of the invention a call to a destination is scheduled based on predefined calling information. At least one visual IVR menu associated with each of the plurality of destinations may be stored in a database. A phone number of a destination from a plurality of destinations may be dialed based on predefined calling information. The predefined calling information is selected from a visual IVR menu associated with the destination. Further, information from the dialed destination may be received based on the predefined calling information. The received information may further be displayed.

Advantageously, the invention provides to a caller a visual IVR menu corresponding to an audible IVR menu of a destination. This may enable the caller to directly interact with the visual IVR menu without listening to the audible IVR menu of the destination. Further, the visual IVR menu is displayed based on the time of dialing a phone number, corresponding to the destination, by the caller. Furthermore, the visual IVR menu of the destination may be provided according to the location of a communication device of a caller and/or a location of the dialed destination phone number. This may provide the visual IVR menu(s) of one or more destinations having location near to the location of the communication device of the caller. Additionally, the invention provides a standard visual IVR menu corresponding to a business category associated with the destination. The standard menu may be common for at least two destinations corresponding to the business category.

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