HanPhone:Case Study ─ Social Welfare Department (SWD)

HanPHONE IVR Provides Social Workers Timely Information Hotline To Serve People In Need

The Social Welfare Departmental (SWD) hotline service launched since 1980 provides callers the information on social services, to provide immediate counseling and advice whenever necessary and in crisis situation and to direct callers to appropriate SWD offices. IVR technology with voice mail function was introduced in 1995 to extend the hotline service to 24 hours a day. Due to frequent updates on service information, the old IVR system was found to be increasingly costly to maintain up-to-date information especially when Cantonese, Putonghua and English are required for information delivery over the phone. Similar problem happened to SWD's homepage of which a new Homepage Content Management System (HCMS) was developed and launched in 2005 such that daily maintenance of the information could be decentralized to the 10 service branches and 12 district social welfare offices.

With the successful launch of the departmental HCMS system, SWD began to seek for a new IVR system in 2006 with the primary objective to synchronize the hotline service information with that from the homepage in a most automated and cost-effective way. And that, the service branches and district offices would be capable to modify the telephone call-flow and contents by non-technical social workers. A tender was issued subsequently inviting IVR technology providers to bid for the project.

The HanPHONE IVR succeeded in winning the bid and the new hotline service at 2343 2255 was re-launched in 2007 offering 10 telephone lines and 2 on-demand fax lines for public service. The new IVR system features a web-based Content Management System (WCMS), first of its kind developed enabling multiple non-technical users to maintain call-flows and to update contents simultaneously with complete authoring rights control system through a browser. Based on call-flows as defined by the social workers, callers will be able to listen to the latest specific service information imported directly from SWD's homepage. The WCMS is developed using Microsoft IIS and ASP programming language.

Furthermore, text information imported from the homepage is automatically converted into Cantonese, Putonghua and English using the latest human-sounding text-to-speech (TTS) technology. The IVR system also keeps a detail log for successful call-transfers outside the duty hours of SWD's social workers to other hotline services manned by non-government agencies so as to facilitate accounting of fund support.

HanPhone IVR is an award winning, innovative web-based voice application platform for the design and creation of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Its unique web-based development environment makes creation and maintenance of IVR system as easy as developing a website and allows telephone users accessing real-time information from the web. The web-based management interface allows users to control the IVR system easily anywhere from an Internet connected PC.


HanPHONE IVR is the first computer-telephony platform providing a web-based CMS system. It allows decentralization of the call-flows and content maintenance to multiple users in the front line resulting to a most timely information enquiry system to callers. Whenever changes in service information happen in the SWD homepage, telephone users are brought up-to-date too.

As the call flows and content management chores are all done in-house by social workers and the TTS function replaces the laborious voice recording work, the long term maintenance cost is reduced considerably.

The new IVR system provides also controls for the social workers to allocate manpower effectively round-the-clock reducing possibility of callers hitting time of no available assistance during crisis.