What Is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

Published on: May 5, 2022
Last Updated: May 5, 2022
It is imperative to befriend technology in order to create happy customers. This post will talk about interactive voice response systems and their best practices.
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According to the CMO Council, the most crucial attribute of a good customer experience, as per customers themselves, is a fast response time. 

The quicker and better the responses, the better the customer satisfaction, the more satisfied a customer, the better your ROIs. 

To create happy customers, it is imperative to befriend technology. This post will talk about interactive voice response systems and their best practices.

What’s the Definition of an IVR System?

If you ever called a business’s call center and had to press keys to get your issue resolved and which led you to a pre-recorded message or a live agent, then you know what an interactive voice response system is.

IVR is an automated business phone system feature that interacts with callers by offering them choices through a menu. It then performs actions based on the caller’s answers through their voice response or telephone keypad.  

Different Types of IVR Phone Systems

Two basic types of IVR systems are: 

1. Inbound IVR systems: Inbound IVR lets callers seek solutions by navigating them through multiple options. It understands their issues through DTMF tones or voice recognition and routes them to the agents that best suit their needs.

2. Outbound IVR systems: It alerts prospects and clients about an appointment, new product launches and follow-ups on their purchase inquiries. 

What Are the Features of IVR Systems?

The salient features of an IVR system are:

Drag-and-Drop Call Flow Design

Drag-and-drop call flow (call path) design allows admins to easily update and edit call paths within the IVR system. 

Call Forwarding

Call forwarding sends inbound calls across multiple phone numbers/devices to the same agent.

Call Routing

Call routing strategies offer different ways to route calls based on predefined criteria. So, the types of call routing your IVR system should offer to include:

call 1

CRM Integrations

Integrating third-party CRM can give agents instant access to caller information through automated call pops instantly when a customer contacts your business, displaying key details like last contact date, purchase history, notes from other agents, etc. 

Call Recording

It helps admins and supervisors to evaluate the quality of their sales and support processes.

Call transcriptions

It offers searchable, written transcriptions of these recordings for automated analytic tools or admins to look for recurring words/phrases, common patterns, and more.

Call Scripting 

Individual agents can follow pre-written “scripts” when interacting with customers according to specific issues or needs. 

Internal Wikis

Internal wikis provide a searchable database of the key company, product, and/or service information. 

What Are the Benefits of IVR Systems?

The main benefits of IVR systems are:  

Efficient call routing 

IVR facilitates very effective call routing within the contact center. For example, after the phone system starts a call by gathering caller information with IVR technology, the information gathered is then used to route customers to the right qualified agent for their issue.

Reduced call wait times

A well-designed Interactive Voice Response system can significantly reduce the average hold time for a customer. It can also improve first-call resolution rates. 

Improved customer service

Since IVR technology enables round-the-clock customer service, it can also take calls outside opening hours in the firm of automated pre-recorded messages. This can relieve your customers’ frustration when they take calls. 

image 3

Self-service

With IVR, customers are routed to self-service steps, allowing them to easily resolve their problems without any interaction with a human agent through touch-tone keyboards and DTMF. In addition, self-service is possible at any time of the day, meaning a customer can make inquiries at their own convenience.

Reduced call volumes 

As mentioned above, with the best IVR system, customers and prospects need to make fewer calls to agents since it enables them to solve FAQs via touch-tone keyboards and DTMF. This is also beneficial to the call center cost-wise as this saves a lot of expensive call hours and allows staff to work on more complex tasks. 

Some Drawbacks of IVR

Some of the notable drawbacks of IVR are: 

1. Complicated Menus: Lengthy menus with too many options can frustrate customers and increase abandonment rates and negative customer experience. Don’t make it impossible for the customers to connect with a live agent in case they need to.

2. Impersonal. Some customers still prefer a human voice over an automated one; even during the initial stages of the conversation, automated voices would just off-put them. 

How To Choose the Best IVR System for Your Business?

Three important points to consider: 

1. Assess Your Customer Service Needs

The best interactive voice response is the one that meets your needs. Do you need multiple languages to serve a global customer base? Do you want customers to be able to process payments over the phone? What’s the size of your sales team? Ask yourself these questions to make an informed decision.

call center

2. Get Input From Your Call Center Operators

It’s crucial to ask your operators before installing an IVR system. Ask them questions like what type of functions will help alleviate heavy call volumes? And what are their biggest challenges? 

3. Do Your Research

The best way is to sign up for free trials. Almost all leading IVR providers offer them. This will give you first-hand experience on what the products are like and do they actually help you better your KPIs. 

Summary

IVR systems create a win-win situation for all the parties involved. It offers an excellent customer experience while saving your agent time. The end result is better business and big ROIs. 

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Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.
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Last Updated: May 5, 2022
It is imperative to befriend technology in order to create happy customers. This post will talk about interactive voice response systems and their best practices.
EarthWeb is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Stay on top of the latest technology trends — delivered directly to your inbox, free!

Subscription Form Posts

Don't worry, we don't spam

Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.

Latest Stories