What is IVR?

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a technology used in telecommunications that allows computer to interact with humans.

IVR systems interacts with callers and gathers responses by DTMF tones from keypad or by speech recognition. The gathered information is used further to assist caller in a best way possible.

How it works?

The IVR systems can respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR consists of pre-configured automated menu options from which caller has to select desired one. The caller selects options either by DTMF tones of by speech recognition. Depending on the caller’s response IVR systems further assists.

IVR is a very popular and commonly used solution in call centers and help desks now a days. It enables identification, segmentation, assistance and routing of calls to the most appropriate agent within team. IVR systems can be able to handle and solve multiple requests simultaneously including redirection of calls, sending messages, emails etc., which in short significantly reduce the operational cost and time.

Usage

IVR systems are very helpful in serving high call volumes with lower cost. The use of IVR allows caller’s queries to be resolved without a live agent and if the caller do not find the required information, IVR system can transfer their calls to live agents. Caller’s interaction with IVR system provides sufficient time to live agents in collecting information and understanding the caller’s queries. IVR systems can be useful in many applications, the following are some of the most common usage of IVRs:

  1. Data/Information Collection: IVR systems are commonly used in data collection. The collected data may include multiple information sets for example caller’s number, language choice, customer preferences, queries etc.
  2. Call Routing: To route the calls to the right agents of appropriate departments or sections is one of the major use of IVR systems.
  3. Automated Support: IVR systems not only route the calls to the appropriate live agents, they are also capable in solving caller’s concerns. Sometimes caller doesn’t need to talk to live agents and their issues can be solved without human interactions. In such scenarios IVR systems are much helpful. For example in generating support tickets, activation or deactivation of services, call back requests, service/product information, status check etc.
  4. Prioritize Calls: Some issues needs to be solved on priority basis. IVR systems perfectly analyze the collected caller data and serve them on priority basis if needed.

Benefits of IVR

IVR technology can benefit businesses in following ways:

  1. Reduced Operational Cost: As IVR system can handle and solve thousands of calls simultaneously, comparatively less number of executives are required to manually answer the calls. And hence, the use of IVR systems reduces operational cost with a great extent.
  2. Saves Time: IVR technology is able to handle some of the most common issues of clients without any need of live agents, and saves time and money.
  3. Great Customer Satisfaction: A well configured IVR system makes customers happy and satisfied.
  4. 24/7 Support: IVR systems does not need any manual operator to work, these systems can be operated anytime.
  5. Increases Professionalism: IVR can be useful in greeting the customers in a professional manner, and use of IVR technology gives good impression of business in customer’s eyes.

Disadvantages of IVR

With a tons of good features, IVR technology too have some disadvantages. Customers often get frustrated with complicated and long IVR menu options. It is also termed as a barrier between customers and company representatives.

IVR systems works according to their configuration, they can not handle any out of the box issues.

IVR systems are also job eaters. With introduction to new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), IVR systems are taking jobs away from human agents.

Conclusion

IVR is an smart and economical solution in telecommunications world. With its tons of features and ease of operation, these systems are gaining more popularity day after day. The addition of Artificial Intelligence into IVR technology has open the doors to infinite opportunities. If we ignore some of its demerits, IVR systems still have great future.

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