Thesis Abstracts


Developing an Effective Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System for the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia

Gaurav Mehra | April 1999

This thesis was the result of a study conducted for the call-centre at the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia (WCB). The management at WCB wanted to understand the nature and pattern of calls at their newly opened call-centre. The purpose of this was to provide an efficient customer service while streamlining the flow of calls coming to the call-centre.

An extensive data collection exercise was undertaken at the call-centre and two other units of WCB with which the call-centre interacts. The data analysis revealed that a high proportion of calls were related to transfers to these departments. There were also calls related to routine inquiries on claim payment cheques and forms that could potentially be handled by a well designed IVR system.

Based on this understanding the development of an effective IVR system was proposed to address the problems that were discovered through documenting the nature and pattern of calls. An extensive review of literature was undertaken to design a new system according to the standard industry guidelines suggested by the best practices and customized to WCB's business needs. Two alternate scripts were developed after analysing the source and purpose of calls to WCB. One was 'person specific' and the other was 'task specific'.

The two scripts were tested on students at WCB through a computer-based IVR simulation. The results of the student survey provided evidence that introducing additional options and use of simple and clear instructions in the new scripts could potentially in fact address the problems discovered in the study and they were preferred over the existing WCB script. The IVR simulation is reconfigurable and can be used in future studies to gather further evidence in support of the results obtained in this thesis as well as refine scripts before putting them in a production mode.


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