What Is an IVR and Why Does Your Business Need It?

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We all have our own opinions of IVRs.

In the past, IVRs were incredibly frustrating and weren’t designed around customer experience. Luckily, times have changed and now an IVR is a valuable tool for any business. More on that later, but first it’s important to know what exactly an IVR is, how it works, and what the major benefits are of using one.

What Is an IVR?

IVR is an Interactive Voice Response, a menu system that you can interact with via keypad selections or voice responses. If you have ever called a business and navigated a short menu that asked you for information to properly direct your call, you have had firsthand experience with an IVR.

How Does IVR Work?

Interactive Voice Response is a technology that allows callers to interact with computerized voice messages before they are connected to a human operator. This technology works hand in hand with DTMF tones, i.e., telephone touch tones.

IVR matches with various technologies and is built into DTMF tones. Speech recognition is also compatible with DTMF tones and makes it possible for callers to communicate using their native language when responding to a prompt.

Some IVR technologies can recognize caller voices and have in-built artificial intelligence that allows them to provide appropriate answers. Phone trees integrated with the IVR system enable centers to attend to more calls.

Artificial intelligence for call IVR has started making its way to contact centers, eliminating the need for callers to juggle with long menus. With AI in the picture, IVR can direct callers to the section of the calling center that they need information from, and even directly to live agents that are available at the time.

What Are the Benefits of an IVR?

The major benefits of using an advanced, multi-level IVR are that you can increase customer service efficiency, increase overall customer satisfaction, gather the information that you need from the customer, and create a much more efficient workflow.

In many cases, your business needs a sophisticated IVR system that can handle both keypad and voice and keep everything flowing smoothly. There are people who have dealt with the inefficient IVRs of the past; these old technologies failed to understand the caller commands and led to a frustrating caller experience.  Today’s advancements in IVR technology have made these systems much better for consumers and businesses.

Voice Recognition in IVR

Voice recognition is a pretty new IVR feature. This IVR technology enables callers to respond to particular prompts by speaking. This process is easier than having to navigate through a menu.

When implemented the right way, voice recognition can help callers identify the zones where their questions will be adequately addressed. The result? Fewer disappointments.

The use of the native language to answer callers’ queries offers an incredible customer experience compared to touch tones.

Combining Artificial Intelligence with Speech Recognition

Artificial intelligence is the latest addition to Interactive Voice Response. This IVR technology takes native language comprehension to a call center.

AI integrates with speech recognition technology through advanced processing as well as account status or calls history. AI and IVR can accurately establish the intention of a caller and provide the appropriate response.

AI can be used to direct callers to an intended destination in the absence of a phone menu. This saves the callers’ time and is more effective for call centers. The technology not only reduces the workload on live agents but also spares callers from possible frustrations.

It’s important to know, however, that not all IVRs are created equal.

Personalized IVRs

Why would a company want to create a custom greeting with their IVR? What’s the point of doing so when you just want to direct the call as quickly and efficiently as possible? Well, you may want to do this for branding and identity purposes. There’s also a great branding benefits from having consumers call a company and hear a custom message. This extra touch can offer a lot of value, giving your callers a personalized experience, so they don’t feel like they are taking orders from a machine.

Collecting Information with an IVR

IVRs collect information about your customers. They also redirect calls to the most appropriate agent or department. If your IVR doesn’t send that gathered information over to the agent that handles the call, and the caller is expected to repeat the information back to them, that could be incredibly frustrating. It’s important to make sure you work with a company that offers a proven IVR system that doesn’t experience these types of issues. The goal is making the caller experience as pleasant as possible.

Prioritizing Calls with an IVR

IVRs can also help you prioritize calls. They help navigate the process of where a caller should go, and you can even set it up so that specific agents get specific calls. This is optimal because you can ensure that your best agents get the best calls, ensuring that the most handled agents receive priority. IVRs can also ensure that your company can deal with a higher volume of calls.

Where Can You Get an IVR from?

Phonexa’s Call Logic platform offers a fully customizable voice interaction system that helps you acquire customer information and route calls to the appropriate department.

Learn more about Phonexa’s Interactive Voice Response offers. You can also schedule a consultation at any time and get a firsthand look at what sets our IVR apart from others.

Armen Karaoghlanian is the Chief Marketing Officer of Phonexa. He is a member of the CMO Council and has been featured on Complex, Fast Company, and Business Insider.

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