Asterisk Tutorial 28-Asterisk IVR and Custom Prompts

Introducing Asterisk Phone Systems – Asterisk IVRs and Custom IVR Prompts

Now that we have our teams (queues) configured, music on hold is setup and our dynamic agents are ready to go, it is time to start a new topic. The next logical step in setting up your Asterisk system is to configure an options menu, otherwise known as an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu. What does that mean? Simply put, an IVR menu is a list of options that are presented to an inbound caller which prompts them to make a selection, thus qualifying the call and directing it to the most appropriate contact. For more on IVR menus including do’s and don’ts, please check out our IVR best practices.

As the purpose of an IVR is to help the caller get to the best contact as quickly as possibly by means of asking questions or prompts, such as selecting a language or department, it is essential that when configuring your IVR system that you have the appropriate IVR prompts. Now as every company (and therefore phone system) is different, these prompts will need to be customised to match your needs – and how to do that is the topic of today’s tutorial.

Tips for Recording Custom Prompts

In order to record custom prompts, you have a few options available to you. The first is the also the cheapest and fastest and involves using your phone to record your prompt. Being so quick and cost inexpensive, this option could well be well suited to short term, emergency prompts should you need to record a service outage announcement.

However, as this option is quick, cheap and easy it almost goes without saying that quality will be lacking. Therefore, it is not advisable to use this option when recording your permanent prompts. Another tip when using this option is to stop the recording using the hash/pound (#) key as this will prevent the hangup click also being recorded.

The second option, while being more costly, is the best option as it will allow you to edit, cut and master your custom IVR prompts as well as ensuring higher quality. This option is to create a recording using a good quality microphone and a audio recording / editing software. A great example option is Audacity which is an OpenSource solution and therefore free. Moreover, Audacity is available for numerous operating systems meaning that businesses can quickly, easily and cost effectively make their own custom IVR prompts.

However, should you not have the staff or in house facilities to create the recordings yourself, then there is also another cost effective solution. Studio time is not as expensive as you might think - a local studio here in Deggendorf only charges €30 per hour. A word to the wise though, despite studio time not costing an arm and a leg, it is still a very good idea to plan the session and have the prompts thought out before hand. This is especially true if you have multilingual prompts as you or the studio (obviously costs more) will need to provide native speakers for all the languages.

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Final Word

A well-configured business phone system that oozes useful tools, delivers excellent audio quality and intuitive call flows will leave callers with a highly professional impression. The configuration options, available applications and how well they are utilized will have a decisive impact on how professionally you manage your calls and therefore how your customers view your company. The switch to a pascom VoIP phone system solution provides the opportunity to not only upgrade your internal employee collaboration but also to redefine your business telephony.

If you would like more information regarding pascom and our Asterisk based PBX software, please visit our website or give the pascom team a call on +49 991 29691 200 to discuss your requirements and get started within minutes using our free hosted business VoIP phone system edition.

Until next time – Happy VoIPing!

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