The Beginners Guide to IVR – Interactive Voice Response
The term IVR is short for Interactive Voice Response, which is a telephony technology that allows interaction between callers and a phone system to acquire or go into information into a database. More and more companies are turning to IVR to help reduce the cost of shared sales, service, collections, inquiry and sustain calls to and from their company.
Interactive Voice Response or IVR is one of the most shared telephone roles in use across the business community and is capable of bringing exceptional benefits to your company. IVR systems allow 24 hour access to a company from its customers via its phone system. In today’s busy modern world, most callers expect on first contact with a company, to be handled via some kind of Auto accompanying or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. This method of call handling is generally accepted as long as the caller is given abundant opportunity to opt out of the IVR system and be able to speak to a live agent.
IVR systems offer a cost effective and money saving way of handling customer calls twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The handling of routine phone requests for information can consume a substantial amount of company resources and ultimately money. Interactive Voice Response systems, tailored to a company’s requirements can provide much the same information as a live operator at a fraction of the cost both financially and resourcefully. To put things in their most simple form IVR systems let callers interact with your company via its telephone system.
IVR systems hugely reduce customer call handling costs, and can be introduced into your company ecosystem in a number of ways. The most basic IVR systems simply allow you to record a message that is played when a customer presses the appropriate number on the phone keypad. The more progressive Interactive Voice Response systems allow callers to interact with a company on a much greater extent. For example you could set up an IVR to retrieve specific account information that is relayed to the caller by the implementation of text-to-speech recognition technology. This technology allows IVR systems to read specific information from a database and then relate that information back to the customer in spoken format.
Typical IVR – Interactive Voice Response System Applications
The possible applications of IVR systems are virtually endless. IVR systems can be used to automate a wide range of sets and requests for information. By combining the input of a caller with tailor made scripts, IVR systems allow callers to call into a company or IVR hosting company using a touch-tone telephone, and then to interact with the system in real time. Below is a list of example IVR applications:
- Automated account payment systems
- Customer account information
- Banking service for account balance move information
- Customer market surveys
- Emergency notifications
- Virtual receptionists
- Call centre automation
- Order position and tracking
- Package tracking
- Virtual PBX’s
- Voicemail sets
- Voice moment messaging
- Bill reminder
- Bill collection
- Virtual agents
- Auto attendants
- Call routing
- Call recording solutions
- Plus many, many more
Benefits of IVR Systems
- Integrated Voice Response systems can be extremely advantageous to companies by cutting down on live call handling time, consequently saving money and enabling staff to be free to concentrate on other business areas.
- IVR systems can assistance callers by either allowing access to personalised information or, directing them to the right department or, by a combination of multiple input types and selections via menu choices involving telephone keypad input and speech recognition.
- IVR systems allow callers to retrieve or access information quickly with or without additional human assistance.
- Integrated Voice Response systems allow companies to easily expand their hours of business, without the need for live operators to be on hand. This allows callers to call at their convenience and nevertheless be able to carry out a multitude of responsibilities automatically.
- Call queuing times to departments within a company can be drastically reduced. With IVR systems, calls can be transferred to appropriate departments by the menu selection course of action.
- IVR systems allow company representatives to experience lower call volumes thorough the automation of repetitive responsibilities. This allows these representatives to manage their calls more efficiently and lets them to concentrate on more important issues.
- by the implementation of a good Integrated Voice Response System, companies may truly be able to expand their call capacity and respond to larger call volumes by the correct management and routing of all inbound calls, reducing the handling cost per call ratio.
- For companies who accept payments via the telephone IVR systems can fully automate this task, allowing them to course of action transactions anytime of the day, any day of the week.
- For when call volumes are high, IVR systems allow companies to highlight new products, updates or product information etc while a caller is on keep up.
- Companies are able to monitor call progress and transactions by the use of daily call activity reports.
Customer assumption Equipment (CPE) IVR or Hosted IVR The Choice Is Yours
CPE – This is equipment that is purchased or leased by a customer and is then located, hosted and maintained at the customers site. For most companies this is an expensive way of harnessing the strength a good IVR system can bring to any business due to the initial cost of the hardware and installation work that would be required. For those companies that have the necessary funding for CPE there are of course benefits in addition as drawbacks. CPE allows you to take complete control of your IVR system and will also allow for future company expansion, though many hosted IVR solutions do allow for this also. The main drawback to CPE IVR systems is that you would need continuing technical sustain and maintenance either from your own internal staff or outsourced to the IVR system provider.
IVR Hosting – If a customer prefers not to great number an IVR system on their premises, is restricted by location, lacks IT sustain or quite simply cannot resist the initial financial outlay required for outright buy then a far away IVR hosting solution that can be tailored to a company’s requirements could be the answer. This option is particularly attractive for small to medium sized businesses who wish to take advantage of a fully featured Interactive Voice Response system, with a greatly reduced initial capital outlay, in addition as eradicating the need for system IT maintenance, and sustain.
Whichever form of IVR system you decide to implement, it is better to ask the advice of experts before you go ahead and buy any hardware or sign any form of lease agreement. A good IVR systems provider or IVR hosting company will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your requirements in detail before helping you make a decision on what kind of system you should opt for.
Thanks for reading.