Ask the Expert

How do I create a customized call center?

In terms of time and money, how challenging is it to create a system where:

  • Party A calls a call center, and the call center takes some information, creates a record, and then connects them to a voicemail-type system where the caller can leave a message in a WAV file that will be appended to the record;
  • an automatic call is begun to Party B, phone number designated by Party A, where Party B will hear a message that Party A left a message for them and they can IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to the message;
  • Party B can call the system using an IVR and retrieve the message; and
  • the database with the messages always knows if someone retrieved the messages.

Do you know of a outsourcing firm that will do this?

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In terms of time and money, that will depend on the firm that is selected to handle the project. Since this project requires a decent level of customization, you'll probably want to consider starting with the open source Asterisk solution.

You can get server requirements and likely a PC plug-in board that gives access to the PSTN -- they will likely put you in touch with a reseller to get pricing for this. You'll get the freely downloadable Asterisk SIP-based PBX and can then work to contact some of their resellers or development partners to get information on the cost of the customization work.

This was first published in April 2006

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