FAQ to LANWT's IVR Phone System IVR RFP

Due to external factors and the limited time spent thus far, we are extending the deadline to Monday, Dec 23rd end of business day. This should give everyone the extra time needed to put your proposals together.


We should be much more available to further answer any questions you may have. If you feel that a demo would strengthen your position. We are amenable to see what you have. Continue to email johnsond@lanwt.org for correspondence.

 

There seems to be a great deal of confusion when it comes to the IVR contact center. From an overview perspective, we are not looking for the traditional use of a contact center. Contact centers generally have stronger voice engines and a more robust set of API tools than your traditional phone systems. That is why we are looking at the contact center to articulate the voice communications for the automated system. It will be the voice portal. It will pass voice response to the CRM and then translate the CRM response back to voice. There will be no other agents, there will be no call trees or scripts, the computer will do that, the contact center will strictly arbitrate the text to speech conversation with the computer. It should also be capable of handling multiple inbound calls. Nothing more and nothing less. Hope this helps.

 

Also, I would not sacrifice your position if you are presenting a one size fits all solution and one of your components is a weak link. I would put your best foot forward. Remember the RFP is structured so you can submit your proposals as independent bids for all three pieces individually. We did that for a reason and to acquire best of class services.

 

Compiled below is our responses to your questions thus far. It is in no particular order and we have not organized them by subject. Some questions and answers may very well repeat themselves. Sorry about that.

 

Locations:

 

Abilene:                             500 Chestnut Street, Ste. 901, Abilene, TX  79602

Amarillo:                            203 West 8th, Ste. 600, Amarillo, TX  79101

Brownwood:                      300 N. Fisk Ave., Brownwood, TX  76801

CLC Akard:                        511 N. Akard, Dallas, TX 75201

CLC Frazier Court:            4716 Elsie Faye Heggins Street, Dallas, TX  75210

CRP Fort Worth:                2001 Beach Street, Unit 510, Fort Worth, TX  76103

CRP Dallas:                       400 S. Zang Blvd, Suite 1420, Dallas, TX  75208

CRP Lubbock:                   1001 Main St., Suite 502, Lubbock, TX 79401

CRP Amarillo:                    203 West 8th, Suite 600, Amarillo, TX

Dallas:                               1515 Main Street, Dallas, TX  75201

Denton:                              2220 San Jacinto Blvd., Suite 205, Denton, TX  76205

Fort Worth:                        600 E. Weatherford Street, Fort Worth, TX  76102

LASSA Dallas:                   211 N. Ervay St., Suite 620, Dallas, TX 75201

Lubbock:                            1711 Avenue J, Lubbock, TX  79401

McKinney:                          901 N. McDonald Street, Suite 702, McKinney, TX  75069

Midland:                             10 Desta Drive, Suite 675E, Midland, TX  79705

Odessa:                             620 N. Grant Street, Suite 410, Odessa, TX  79761

Plainview:                          305 West 7th Street, Plainview, TX  79072

San Angelo:                      17 S. Chadbourne Street, Suite 403, San Angelo, TX  76903

Waxahachie:                     110 E. Main Street, Suite 200, Waxahachie, TX  75165

Weatherford:                     100 Austin Avenue, Suite 203, Weatherford, TX  76086

Wichita Falls:                     710 Lamar Street, Suite 300, Wichita Falls, TX  76301

 A few more locations are expected to come online in 2020.

 

Is the texting platform mobile, or strictly desktop and AI functionality chat?   Both

 

What is the functionality required by the 350 users?

Voice, Voicemail, Standard PBX functionality

 

What mandatory features are needed for each kind of user?

Voice, Voicemail, Standard PBX functionality

 

What kind of phones are currently onsite?

Avaya 9508 Digital Handsets

Avaya 9608 VoIP Handsets

 

Can LANWT please provide more detail on automated call attendant and phone tree, such as how many levels are required?

Yes,  please email for some examples of our phone system IVR tree and we will be happy to provide. Email me at johnsond@lanwt.org

 

How many instances of personal web conferencing and/or audio bridges are required.

Can LANWT please confirm if we are to price out the access types on page 7?

Currently, we have 10 bridge lines. We would still prefer to have an audio bridge solution that has a higher threshold of attendees than a personal bridge usually accommodates. Preferably everyone who gets an account.


No, access connection types is not part of this particular RFP. If your solution is an on premise solution, can your solution accommodate multiple access types. If your solution is a cloud PBX, we'll provide the internet connection.

 

If we are supposed to price out the access types on page 7, can LANWT please confirm the access type and speed required at each address?  Not Required.  

 

The RFP mentions LANWT and LSC terms under the professionalism section; can the terms be provided for review?  Yes.

 

Page 12 of the RFP mentions that answers to the Q&A will be provided on LANWT's website, can LANWT please provide further clarity, or a link to the exact location in the website where the Q&A will be posted?  Included.

 

Will accounts be shared with the other Texas Legal Aid Organizations? No.

 

Who is the manufacturer of the web-based case management system you are/will be using?

Legal Server.  https://legalserver.org

 

On page 7, under Overall Architecture Schema, of the 350 users, how many breakrooms and interns are there?

We currently have 430 configured extensions. Even though we are estimating 350, we may need to be flexible to acquire more users/licenses. Ideally it would be nice to have 2 tiers for a full on user and a limited user (intern/break)

 

For question 3, will there be a need for voice mail for the interns?

Yes and No, it is completely dependent upon the nature of their internship. We have interns that have a duration of 5 days and others for a duration of 3 months.

 

Are any of the breakroom phones wall-mounted? Yes

 

Do any of the three Legal Aid entities have disaster recovery for voice and data now? Please describe and please provide the address of the data center if one is currently being utilized.

We cannot answer for LSLA or TRLA but LANWT does not for voice. Data is not a requirement for this RFP.

 

What size internet connection does each site have?

Currently it varies between 10mbs and 100mbs. We intend to put into effect a SD-WAN with at least a two connection solution. Due to the nature of the locality of our offices, connection speeds will vary with varying access connections that are available.

 

Contact Center Features – Can you tell us which features are required and which are optional?

a.            Skills Based Routing, Real time and Historical Reports. Not necessary

b.            Recording  The possibility exists for this. However not required.

c.             Recording with Quality Assessment.  No

d.            Recording with Screen Capture. No

e.            Workforce Management – Scheduling and Forecasting.  No

f.             What is the CRM in the Contact Center and Is Integration with it required? 

                Legal Server. Absolute requirement for API integration

g.            Multi Media – Chat, Text Email routing?  No

h.            Is headset and softphone ok or is a physical phone required for Agents? All three are

                required, physical, pc, and smartphone softphones options.

i.            Is Private Cloud an option or only Public Cloud?  Would depend on redundancies for disaster continuity.

j.             If possible is one vendor/partner and one manufacturer preferred for IVR, Contact Center, Texting and UCaaS?  Unified system could be beneficial but not at the expense of functionality and quality of service. We are looking at best of class.

8.            Contact Center Questions

a.            How many Agents are there? At one or multiple locations?  Only one agent? We don't need agents for this project. It will be an automated system. We'll need a virtual connection. The one and only connection string will be an API interactions with a computer. There is no human endpoint other than possibly a 3rd party call transfer to another agency such as FEMA.

b.            How many Concurrent Agents are on the phone at one time?  No others except for how many concurrent calls can be connected and the rate at which the automated computer can handle and process requests.

c.             In Case of a Disaster what is the number of Agents licenses that the system needs to have provisioned?  At least one? The question really is, how many concurrent calls can the system handle?

d.            What are you currently using for contact center software?  Five9 Contact Center (Cloud Based) This is a different solution for a completely different purpose.

e.            Will the contact center need to be redesigned based on the integration to the IVR? Or are the contact center call flows and applications looking to remain in place or at least be replicated by another manufacturer?  It is entirely dependent upon your architecture and whether your system can accommodate an automated TTS passthrough environment.


But basically this solution will pick up the call and immediately pass the conversation via speech to text translation and API integration to a computer. The computer will respond via text and pass back via API. The solution will then convert the text to speech and so on for a complete automated conversation.

f.             Are any current contact center applications or any voice applications from the 3 organizations remaining in place or is everything be ripped out and replaced?  LANWT – new and stand-alone solution.

9.            IVR and Web based case management application

a.            Can you describe what a typical user interaction would be with the case management system? Will callers just be provided information or will callers need to authenticate and provide information to the IVR system?  Please see responses above, no authentication is needed, callers will recieve information, and specific information will be collected.

b.            Is case management system a home grown web application or an enterprise software product and, if so, what is the name of the product?  It is an enterprise product. Legal Server – https://legalserver.org

c.             Does this application support standard api's?  http://help.legalserver.org/home/pro-bono/pro-bono-opportunities-api, http://help.legalserver.org/home/reports/reports-api, http://help.legalserver.org/home/other-modules/search-matters-by-phone-number-from-an-external-application. It supports RESTful API.

d.            Is the case management system cloud based?  Yes

e.            Can you expand on "AI and smart navigation" in Part 3, b. in the texting platform section?  Are you looking for Chatbot functionality and does the platform need to integrate to facebook and twitter?        Not directly, Chatbox functionality will be mitigated from the CRM. The texting platform will provide the medium. Social integration is a plus and is not in the scope of this project at the moment. However, there are future considerations.

f.             In part 2, question A (pg 6), how do you envision both the text-to-speech and the speech-to-text applications working in this solution? Please provide an example for each.
TTS for client interaction and STT for client response.

g.            Will there be any payment transactions? Is there a need for PCI Compliance?  No payment transactions at all.

h.            On page 9, in the IVR Call Center Solution, what is considered a large number of phone calls – 10,000/hour, 50,000/hr, 100,000/hr?  100/hour and this is an estimate. It is unknown what the true demand could be.

10.          IVR Application Development

a.            Is it your intent to have the selected vendor assist in fleshing out the automated applications for the IVR or is that already completed? Assistance, is a possibility and dependent upon your architecture and maturity of your API environment. It is possible that some development time may be required.

b.            If yes to A, do you need to have the vendors build in time or quote an hourly rate to assist in designing the application?  Quote hourly rate.

c.             Once the application is designed do you want the vendor to code the application or does your IT team want to be trained on the system tools and build the application with internal resources? Likely both.

11.          On page 11, under features, you have the need for a command or administrative console listed. How do you envision the use of this console?  Some degree of control and configuration of the platform. Such as activating short code and long code functionality and numbers. API connection strings. Authentication and identification strings for API instruction sets.

12.          SD WAN – Can we supply information or a bid for SD WAN?  Yes as a separate quote and process to this RFP.


  1. What is the web-based case management system? Legal Server – https://legalserver.org
  2. Does it have open and restful APIs? Yes
  3. Will LANWT develop the integration or the CCaaS/IVR provider? No, we are looking for already mature integration components.
  4. Please describe the desired features for the integration to the web-based management system?  i.e Custom call routing, screen pop, click to dial, SMS notification, etc ?These are features we are not looking for immediately and not within the IVR solution. It may prove to be useful features that could be integrated into the phone system. However, this would be a future project. Knowing that the phone system could integrate these features with RESTful API would be a step in the right direction.
  5. Is there any current integration with the current CC/CCaaS and IVR provider?  No.
  6. How many concurrent agents for the CC?  This is not germain to the scope of this project.
  7. Number of sites where CC agents will reside?  The one and only agent will be a virtual agent as it will field concurrent phone calls to an automated robotic system.

Additional questions:

  1. Total count of phone numbers to be ported?  430, if we were to take into account DID #'s. This may be a better question to ask in person (for clarification's sake). This is also dependent upon what you can do. We expect to port published numbers and toll free numbers. DID's if possible that way we can possibly assign extensions?
  2. Onsite support required for any of the following?  Depends on complexity and time.
    1. Site Survey?       Vendor should want to do this.
    2. Network Assessment?  Probably not.
    3. Phone hardware installation?  Depends on price and time constraints.
    4. Go-Live/Cutover?  The vendor can recommend. We will also bring on line sites in a step wise fashion. We have the luxury to bring one site at a time into the new system. The only stipulation is a completion of September 2020.
  3. Any paging systems interface required?  Handset based paging. We would entertain another solution if one is available.
  4. Estimate of CC scripts required?  For Call Center, it will depend on how your system works.
  5. Estimate of CC call queues required?  No queue are anticipated? Remember this automated, it should pick up the call and route immediately to the computer.
  6. Goal is selection in Dec, contract in Jan, what is the desired go-live/cutover date?  Goals have been revised and delayed slightly due to internal factors. Selection to be made in Jan, Contract in Feb more than likely. Government oversight has to approve. Go-live/cutover is anticipated to be phased and transpire over a period of months. Project needs to be completed by September 2020. Expect sooner if possible.

 

  1. Will vendors have an opportunity to ask follow-up questions based on the responses to the initial set(s) of questions?  Yes, we have completed a multitude of year end items. We will be able to avail ourselves more easily for the week of 12/16. I am extending the deadline to 12/23. Please make your request via email. I am extremely difficult to reach by phone. You can also schedule a demo of your product if you are so inclined. As a matter of fact, we may request one during the intervening time between your proposal submittal and the final selection.

  2. Related to the following line "The objective is to not only to improve the efficiency of client service operations but also to provide callers with resources and referrals using an automated system".

    Question: Please define resources and referrals as it relates to the IVR or automated system? 
    Provide phone numbers, referrals to specialty agencies, provide informative documents via text or email.
  3. How would a caller to the IVR system access a resource? Some questions could be: Would you like to receive a document by text or email? Would you like to know the agencies that can help you? Would you like to know what resources are available to you. Would you like to be connected to xyz agency? Would you like to continue on to see if you qualify for our services? This would then be a prescreen for services with follow on questions.
     
  4. When dialing the IVR system, please describe how the referral process would work? For example: When dialing the IVR, callers will have access to referrals by…….  Receiving a phone number or a 3rd party call transfer. Directed to websites (if by phone given the website which would be followed up by either a text or email with the URL). Granted you would have to provide cell # if land line or an email address during the interaction with the system.

  5.  The bullet / feature below appears to be related to IVR functionality, but it is in the "Part 1. Phone System" section. Just to clarify, this bullet should or could be in "Part 2. IVR Call Center Solution". Is our understanding correct?

    •             IVR, phone tree, and multiple automated call attendants.  No, the IRV Call Center is not your traditional call center in this instance. It to be the arbiter of speech to text and text to speech interactions with the caller and the automated back end.

 

Questions related to - Part 2. IVR Call Center Solution Overall Architectural Schema:

 

  1. Does the IVR need to support multiple languages?  Yes.  English and Spanish.  Vietnamese a plus.

  2. Please describe any scenarios where the IVR system would need to transfer a caller to another telephone number.  When a phone resource is offered and we suggest to connect the call for them.

  3. Is LANWT open to a turnkey IVR system that fully meets any requirements you have defined? In order to provide a turnkey system, LANWT will need to define the core functions desired of the IVR. Yes, it all depends upon what your system can do.

  4. Is LANWT open to software-as-a-service IVR offerings? Under a SaaS / Cloud-based model there would be no hardware or software for your team to purchase upfront. Yes.

  5. The RFP states that the system needs "To be available even in catastrophic events". Please describe the functionality the IVR would need to provide during catastrophic events. For example, the IVR will need to have functionality that allows callers to perform functions x and y during emergency situations. Callers will enter their (x) number which will be checked against the backend....etc.  In the case of IVR and a catastrophe, it would have to have the capability to scale and handle high call loads if the situation calls for it. It is also dependent upon your IVR facilities and where they are. If your facilities are impacted do you have a failover facility and can still provide services.

  6. In order to determine the scope of the IVR project, can LANWT provide a list of required and desired functionality. For example:
    The IVR must:
    - Provide callers with the ability to check the status of a case...  No
    - Allow callers to select an option to hear additional information about our services. Yes
    - Look up case numbers and compare them to the backend web data. No
    - Allow callers to transfer if.... No, they will be off ramped to whatever their situation is.
    - In an emergency, callers need to be able to perform function (x) Call the number and follow the prompts and robotic conversation.
    - ETC.
                    Allow callers to call in.
                    Converse with the computer (TTS and STT) by API Interface.
                    End the call.
     
  7.  In order to better understand the scope of the IVR project, can LANWT provide a sample of a main menu you envision? For example:
    Hello and thank for calling the Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas phone system.
  • If you are calling regarding Legal Services, press 1.
  • To check the status of a case, press 2.
  • If this is an emergency and you need to check in, press 3.
  • For function x press 4
  • For function y press 5
    The IVR will not provide or use any scripts at all. It will immediately pass the TTS to the automated CRM. The CRM will engage in all conversational scripts and pass back STT for the IVR to relay to the caller.
  1.  Does LANWT have an IVR script or phone tree available for review? If not, does LANWT intend to document the actual IVR requirements prior to award?  No, it is not necessary for the IVR solution. For the phone system, we have added a couple of examples for you to review. Scroll to the bottom of this page for those.

 

  1. The RFP states that the IVR will need "A single backend connection to a web-based case management system".

    How does LANWT intend to expose the web-based case management system to the IVR system? Common examples of integration methods are web services, API's, file transfers, etc. RESTful API integration with our CRM or more appropriately ACMS solution.

  2.  Please define single backend connection. Would this mean a VPN or some sort of API connection?         Yes, RESTful API

  3.  What software is being used for the web-based case management system? Please provide as much detail as possible so we can better understand the scope of the integration. Software version, documentation, etc. Legal Server – http://help.legalserver.org/

  4.  Is the data in the case management system available via API or web service? If so, please provide any API documentation so we can understand the scope of the integration.

    http://help.legalserver.org/home/pro-bono/pro-bono-opportunities-api, http://help.legalserver.org/home/reports/reports-api, http://help.legalserver.org/home/other-modules/search-matters-by-phone-number-from-an-external-application 

    What is the purpose of the IVR integration with the case management system? For example, can LANWT articulate this requirement using the following format?

     -The IVR system will need to integrate with the case management system in order to provide callers with the following functionality / data:  To collect data from the caller and present the caller with relevant information based on their input.

    - The IVR will collect a case number which will be validate against the data in the case management system. If the case is found, the IVR will then...  No, it will create an Intake which is the precursor to a case. That is if the caller chooses to, they will be offered many off ramp resources along the way.

    - The IVR will also need to connect to the case management system in order to perform functions (x) and (Y) It will relay resources, give information, and potentially engage in a prescreen.
    - etc.
    The IVR is only the voice conduit to the systems that will do the real work.

  5.   Does LANWT have any historical or anticipated usage data for inbound IVR?  Average call duration for IVR calls?   In this context for IVR, no. This is a new solution from scratch. We can only guestimate calls to last 20 to 30 minutes and shorter. Based upon the situation and for what the caller is seeking help for.

  6.   Can LANWT provide the average transfer duration for calls that are escalated out of the IVR?
    Not germain to the scope, there will be no escalation, this is an automated solution.
  7.   Does LANWT have any historical or anticipated usage data for SMS / text messaging?
    No. This is new territory.

• Ability to accommodate multiple incoming local lines and toll free lines. 

- How Many Toll-Free lines? We have several toll free lines. We'll port them all and possibly whittle them down. The architecture at that point will need to be re-evaluated. We are talking 20 plus. We'll make a count and update it here, time permitting.

 

• SD-WAN under development to supplant connection considerations.

- Will this be established and deployed Day 1 of Go-live with your new voice solution? Not necessarily. Some locations have a robust connection for rapid deployment the secondary connection may be implemented after the fact. Keep in mind we will phase the implementation and acquire license/lines as we go. We won't purchase all 350 at once.

 

▪ Personal faxing

- Are these physical fax machines or is eFaxing the understood solution? E-faxing. We have additional requirements for faxing since we are a Law Firm. We need confirmation capability, with time stamping of some sort. We'll need encryption, A BAA agreement is necessary as well. Even though, personal faxing is an option. We will want the ability to have a singular fax destination for the office and it needs to be communal secure access.

 

• A single backend connection to a web-based case management system. 

- What case management system is being defined here? Legal Server – https://legalserver.org

- What is the preferred web-browser within the organization? We use three main browsers. MS Edge, Firefox, and Chrome (user preference). Legal Server works best with Firefox and is preferred.

 

▪ Pricing Questions

- How would you like us to quote?

     * 350 users for phone system

     * Cost for 1 license for around 350 users

You can price it by 350 users. But just know that is an estimate of users. That number may go up and or down. Also, we are hopeful that you can do full user and also a limited user (ie. breakroom)

 

- How many call center agents would you like to be quoted for? Please see similar comments from above. We would only require one agent and it would need to be virtual with the capability to handle multiple concurrent incoming calls.