What is IVR and why is it important for companies?

IVR or Interactive Voice Response is a tool companies can use to collect data and route calls, without even having to answer the phone. Of course you’ll have to pick up the phone at some point, but when you do, you’ll probably be the expert in the errand and you’ll have all the information you need to provide adequate service. This is incredibly useful for companies that manage large call volumes, in which it allows agents to focus on the more complicated errands, while IVR collects information and routes calls to the right agent.

You might recognize IVR from when you try to call a company, and you’re met by a voice asking you to press different numbers depending on what your errand regards.

For example; “Press 1 for questions about billing or press 2 for questions about our services.”

The role of IVR here is to route the call to the right place without having to spend that extra time navigating call volumes. IVR can collect information on callers and screen out unwanted callers and provide you with business presence 24 hours a day. This essentially means that you can route and collect the information while you sleep. This means that you only have to answer when it’s actually needed.

How IVR works

There are a few technologies that go hand-in-hand in order to make IVR work. The button clicks from the customer are called (DTMF) and are the main building blocks for IVR technology. Most phones today support DTMF tones, which basically means button clicks that create a sound at a specifik frequency. This is the interactive part where a customer clicks their answer, which creates a sound, that the IVR system can recognize as an answer. Voice recognition is a great complement to DTM and allows customers to easily say their answer out loud. The more advanced IVR platforms usually include natural language processing (NLP) that provides a conversational self-service experience. Some IVR may also include TTS (text-to-speech) technology to communicate more complex information such as news, emails, etc. And lastly; AI, which is slowly making its way into customer service, whereas customers soon will be able to just talk openly without a menu at all.

What are the benefits?

IVR can really do wonders for small or mid-sized businesses in improving relationships with customers.

  • Look more professional –  With IVR companies can be available 24/7, thus improving overall customer service. The customer is also always met by choices and ability to be connected with an expert in their concern or question.
  • Filtering – By being able to route calls to the right person, you can save a lot of time. Rather than answering all calls, they can be automatically directed to the proper person.
  • Personal experience – Even though some might worry that an automated system will make it seem less personal, it’s quite the contrary. You can always personalize your voice response to make it seem like customers are met by a real person that can help them connect to an expert.
  • Information – An IVR system can help you collect the information you need even before you answer a call. This will give you the insights you need in order to provide adequate service.
  • Save time and money –You can save time and money by being able to avoid hiring live agents just to filter and route incoming call volumes. In addition, customers also tend to lose patience when they’re forced to listen to a long menu of options. A great IVR system allows them to skip the options they don’t necessarily need. And dropped calls will occur less as a result when they can be given an option where they will get a callback when their wait time is over.
  • Better mobile experience –As smartphone use only continue to grow, it’s crucial that companies offer mobile optimized customer service. IVR is therefore an ideal candidate by allowing customers to reach support even they are out and about.

Great service happens when both employees and customers are provided with the right tools to exceed. With an optimized IVR system, your company can make every customer interaction seamless while also empowering your agents to offer the best support possible without having to waste time filtering huge call volumes.

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