What Is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

Customer service that is quick and courteous is critical for sustained business success. An Interactive Voice Response system is a practical solution for handling high call volume and meeting customer expectations.

But what is Interactive Voice Response (IVR) exactly? Here’s a closer look at how IVR works and why it could be good for your company.

What Is Interactive Voice Response and How Does It Work?

IVR is an automated phone technology that lets customers interact with a computer before talking to a representative. In some cases, thisWoman using an Interactive Voice Response sytem computer system handles the entire conversation instead of a human operator.

An IVR system routes calls to the right recipient. As soon as customers call, a pre-recorded voice menu greets them. Then, it prompts callers through a sequence of menus and options that eventually connects them to the appropriate department or facilitates self-service actions.

After every user input, the system plays back a response. The voice responses are either digitally generated or pre-recorded. Depending on the user response, the system will route, direct, or assist calls automatically.

After answering the prompts, the IVR system allows customers to speak with a person equipped to handle their concerns.

During interactions, customers communicate with the IVR system via voice telephone input or touch-tone keypad selection. The responses may be in the form of callback, voice, text alert, or other media.

Callers can use IVR features without requiring live operator assistance. This does away with the need to assign routine tasks to agents, thereby increasing productivity.

Routed calls allow the most qualified agents to assist customers as needed and resolve issues more quickly.

What Is the IVR System Used For?

Since IVR systems can handle high call volumes, they play a key role in increasing call center efficiency and improving service quality. By collecting information beforehand, an IVR service enables callers to reach the right agent easily.

In turn, businesses that use call center services can streamline their customer support process and reduce costs associated with repetitive or basic call requests.

In the past, IVR systems were mainly used to manage call queues. Today, they are increasingly being utilized in many business settings to provide customers with self-service options.

Companies often use IVR for the following reasons:

  • To reduce costs by decreasing the number of live calls
  • To decrease handles times by making callers’ real-time intelligence available to agents
  • To enhance the customer experience by offering self-service functionality for simple inquiries

Many businesses that turn to IVRs save thousands each year by limiting wasted talk time.

If a company has different phone numbers for various functions, it can use IVR to play different greetings and present distinct options.

IVRs can also offer information like updates, promos, instructions, and other important details.

What Are the Key Features of IVR?

Below are some of the main features of IVR.

Call Assistance

IVR can manage these tasks that would otherwise consume a customer service representative’s time unnecessarily:

  • Filtering calls
  • Directing calls
  • Providing basic information
  • Creating a ticketing system
  • Other basic functions like booking

With the help of this IVR feature, customers won’t have to wait for someone to answer, and they get to enjoy faster service.

Call Routing

This feature lets callers choose from a menu of options to reach the right department or receive the information they seek. An IVR system can automatically route a call to the appropriate agent who’s available.

Information Delivery

IVR can provide agents with caller information as soon as calls are transferred to them. This can lead to a faster resolution since agents won’t waste time pulling up customer information and reading details.

Pre-Call Messages

IVR systems can play pre-recorded announcements or messages. Some examples of these messages are special deal promotions, event information, and business hours announcements.

How Can Your Business Benefit From IVR?

If you’re wondering what Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is going to bring to your business, here are some important advantages you can get:

Reduced Costs

You save labor costs by reducing the need for human agents. Even with high call volumes, the IVR system can address customer needs with the help of virtual operators and receptionists.

Better Customer Service

With the right IVR software system, you can improve customer satisfaction by avoiding hold time and routing calls seamlessly to the right agent. Callers won’t keep getting transferred from one agent to another before finding one who can help. An IVR ensures that the agent who’ll attend to them is ready to answer their questions, resulting in a good customer experience.

Uninterrupted Availability

Customers can reach you at any time when your IVR isn’t dependent on human agents. This is especially true for systems programmed to process simple transactions.

Upgraded Company Image

Consistency in customer service can foster a professional image. Every time you resolve issues quickly and easily with IVR, your image improves with the customer. This ensures retention and helps grow your business. What’s more, you can convert potential clients into real clients when you meet their expectations.

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