Interactive Voice Response (IVR): What it is and how it works

Interactive Voice Response (IVR): What it is and how it works

Every business aims to improve the customer experience and quality of service. With that goal in mind, companies often use automated technologies. One of them is intelligent IVR telephony.

With its help, companies can quickly provide users with the information they need, answer questions and solve problems without a contact center specialist being involved.

What Interactive Voice Response is used for

Interactive Voice Response is a technology that automatically handles incoming calls and redirects them within the organization to employees or departments via an IVR voice menu.

Intelligent IVR telephony is an artificial intelligence (AI)-based virtual receptionist that takes incoming calls 24 hours a day.

The interactive voice response is based on DTMF tone technology and speech recognition. So, when the caller presses a button on the phone or asks a question, the AI recognizes the frequency of the sound and selects the appropriate phrase or recommendation.

For this purpose, standard answers to common user questions are recorded beforehand. When customers call, the prepared voice input provides them with instructions according to the specified parameters.

The goal of IVR telephony is to speed up call processing and reduce operator waiting time, which improves the quality of customer service.

Should you integrate intelligent IVR into the CRM system?

This advanced technology, which allows you to work with speech commands and use natural language to communicate with customers, can be integrated into the CRM system to improve company performance. Let's take a closer look at the benefits of this tool.

Saving time and resources

One of the main advantages of intelligent IVR telephony is that it automatically directs calls to the relevant employees or departments. This saves time and resources, which is essential for companies with a high volume of incoming calls.

Improvement of service quality

It helps businesses provide faster and more efficient customer service because calls are addressed to an employee who has the necessary knowledge and experience in a particular area. With automated systems performing routine tasks, live operators can focus on more complex inquiries.

Improved customer experience

With the IVR voice menu, users can quickly and easily find the information they need. The menu contains details about products, services, prices, addresses, and other helpful information. In addition, it has been proven that interactive voice response reduces the waiting time on the line.

Better security

IVR telephony is used to improve security in companies. In particular, the technology is used to confirm the client's identity when performing financial transactions, thus reducing the risk of fraud.

Availability 24/7

Intelligent IVR telephony works 24 hours a day. This technology can provide information to users at any time of the day or night, as long as the question does not require the participation of a specialist.

Some important disadvantages

Despite the fact that intelligent IVR telephony has many benefits, there are some downsides that should be considered when using it:

  1. The absence of the human element. Sometimes people prefer to communicate with a live operator to get more detailed information.
  2. It is not always possible to foresee all scenarios and questions when setting up the IVR voice menu, so customers do not find the necessary information in automatic mode and require redirection to a live operator.
  3. The technology needs to be properly configured. Like any other automated system, intelligent IVR telephony requires careful configuration for proper operation.
  4. Limited voice recognition capabilities. Unfortunately, modern voice recognition technology is not perfect, so the system can make mistakes, especially when dealing with multiple accents and dialects.

Finally, one of the disadvantages of the IVR voice menu is the difficulty of its use by some categories of customers, such as the elderly or disabled.

When IVR telephony is beneficial for business

Just a few years ago, only large enterprises could afford to install an IVR system. The technology was part of a large ATE (automatic telephone exchange). But today it is much more affordable.

Intelligent IVR telephony can be useful to businesses of all kinds. Here are a few examples.

Large companies and corporations

Interactive voice response allows you to manage a significant volume of calls without hiring many contact center agents.

Online stores

The IVR voice menu is used to simplify the ordering process. Stores can automatically direct customers to the right section, such as: "Press 1 to place a new order" or "Press 2 to check the status of your order”. This makes order processing faster and reduces the workload for contact center agents.

Medical institutions

The technology is used by medical centers to simplify booking appointments. While waiting in the call queue, the client listens to the company's promotional messages: information about new services and special offers.

Recommendations for proper interactive voice response setup

Configuring your IVR menu correctly is key to achieving efficiency and providing users with a comfortable experience. Here are several recommendations for improving system configuration:

  • Think about the needs of your customers to make sure they will not get lost in the menu and can quickly find what they need.
  • Make sure recorded messages are easy to understand and avoid specific terms and long phrases.
  • Don't use overly complex systems with multiple answer choices.
  • Give users the opportunity to switch to the operator.

Test and optimize your IVR voice menu to find out which options customers use most often and which they don't. This will improve responses and make them more efficient.

In conclusion

IVR telephony is an innovative system that has enormous potential to optimize business operations. AI helps companies improve services and address customer needs. 

Integrating intelligent IVR into a CRM system allows you to increase the efficiency of customer service, optimize communication with customers, and ultimately increase the company's revenue.

However, it should be considered that this technology is not a universal solution for all business needs and has disadvantages. In particular, the lack of ability to communicate with a live operator, mistakes in voice recognition, and incorrect configuration.

Decision Telecom offers world-class telephony services, including IVR voice menu setup. Get in touch with us.

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