AUGUST 02, 2022

How to leverage IVR system calls in Glific and connect with your users more effectively.

By Vivek Amola

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This blog post is written by Vivek Amola and Mohit Gusain

In Glific we always try to experiment with new possibilities and evolve the platform as much as possible. In the recent case, we explore the Exotel platform, a popular IVR (Interactive voice response) system.

As Glific is now a community of more than 50+ NGOs, we always look forward to seek suggestions, challenges, and ideas from them, so that we can build Glific, in a way that the platform can help them to reach their end users more effectively and efficiently.

After connecting with few NGOs having experience with IVR we gathered their thoughts and came up with the 3 most requested features:

  1. Ability to initiate one-to-one IVR call from the chatbot. (WhatsApp user to NGO support/help)
  2. Trigger a flow for users via an IVR call.
  3. Get opt-ins via IVR calls and onboard in Glific.

As all these were something that can have a general use-case across NGOs, we thought to explore them.

Ability to initiate one-to-one IVR call from the chatbot

In this use-case NGO can ask their beneficiaries to initiate an IVR call to connect with their NGO support or help within the WhatsApp flow and can get into a 1-to-1 discussion. 

Take an example from this conversation.

As soon the user clicks on the Yes, Call me. The IVR call flow will initiate. In this flow, the IVR will call the NGO support first, As soon as they will receive the call, the IVR will make another call to the user’s phone, and when the user picks it up both the NGO support and the user get connected via an IVR number.

In the above diagram, Exotel connects NGO Support and WhatsApp User. Where Call leg 1 refers to the incoming call (from an ExoPhone to NGO Support) & Call leg 2 also refers to the incoming call (from an ExoPhone to WhatsApp User, only if NGO Support picks up the phone).

Once both have picked the phone from the IVR number, they can start the conversation, which is also being recorded on the Exotel and can be accessed from the Exotel dashboard.

Trigger a flow or get optins via an IVR call from WhatsApp user.

In this use-case NGOs can ask their beneficiary to call an IVR number, which can trigger some specific flow or can get their consent to receive a WhatsApp message.

This will require to setup an IVR menu and conversation flow on the NGOs Exotel account. Once the user will share their approval by pressing a specific number key, the Glific API will trigger a message in WhatsApp.

NGOs can integrate with Exotel by updating the details of their Exotel account in Glific, like Flow ID, Mode of call and their IVR number and also setting up the Glific API on the Exotel flow.

With the Flow ID we can decide if we need to get Opt-in from the users or run a specific flow for them.

On Exotel flow editor a simple flow blocks will look like this

So far, these are the use-cases we have explored with Exotel and Glific integration. We are constantly looking for more ideas, suggestions and use-case to get deeper and better hands on IVR systems.

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