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In the last 2 years we have seen an 80% migration away from SMS over to AVM technology (Automatic Voice Messaging), also known as VB (Voice Broadcast), Surveys and Opt-In campaigns. Yes when you receive an AVM its annoying, but the stats show that South Africans answer 50% of AVM calls, and up to 80% if its not sales related.

Why on earth should you use AVMs? AVMs are cheaper and have features you probably haven’t even heard of yet.

As powerful as AVMs may become, there will always be a small place for SMS services. Secure messages to mobile phones containing service or support type information like a reference number can never be sent via AVM, because it cannot be saved for future access unless the call is recorded, which is impractical.

AVMs are cheaper for 2 reasons: you only pay for answered calls (voicemail detection limit voicemail calls to under 3 seconds), and an average message length of 17 seconds, so you can fit many AVMs into a single minute, costing between 20-40c per minute compared to 16c per SMS whether it was delivered or not. 

AVMs are feature rich. Let me try and list the important features:

  • 2-way communication: we have the customer on the line and can transfer the call to an agent if required
  • Customer can enter an 1-9 response multiple times (multi-level IVR) and responses can be downloaded or sent somewhere via API call or web-socket etc.
  • APIs can be called to send lead information to the customer’s CRM or similar
  • Integrate with a telco APN to utilise USSD push to the callee’s phone
  • Maintain a DNC (Do Not Call) list automatically and filter outbound calls against the DNC list, or upload your own DNC list
  • Automatic voicemail detection, and options for when voicemail is detected eg leave message or hangup.
  • TTS (text to speech) integration enables human like readouts of customisable messages eg “dear John thank you for your visit to our Durban branch today…”
  • Advanced management tools like realtime reporting, lead recycling and AVM scheduling in advance to name a few
  • Reach the entire country in a matter of hours with concurrency levels of 6000 or more simultaneous channels (calls)
  • Ability to develop new features, because of the flexible nature of AVM technology

I built my first AVM server almost a decade ago, but nowadays I spend my time on AVM additions like number intelligence to predict which leads to call first and at what time of day. Our data manager module is another addition to our holistic AVM solution and it allows the user to create optimised campaign phonebooks based on the past performance of the total customer base. This type of post intelligence application drives quick uptake of newly created sales campaigns by removing the poor performing numbers from the campaign, and by dialing the better performing numbers during the predicted best time of day.

Watch this space for additional AVM toys we will create in 2019.