An Overview of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System

From its inception in 1970s, the IVR technology has kept on supporting the companies across the world in enhancing their communication with the customers.

Interactive voice response or IVR is a system in which there is interaction of computers with humans which is operated through a combination of software, telephonic equipment and databases. The technology is used in multiple sectors like banking, hospital, retail, hospitality and restaurants etc.

Technology Used in IVR

Speech recognition and DMTF are two basic technologies which are used to receive the input into IVR system. In DMTF method, the button pressed by the user on phone acts a signal for the computer. These signals are interpreted by computer using telephony card. A suitable response is then generated by the computer which is heard by the caller.

In speech recognition method, the voice of the customer is used as the input. The voice command is divided into smaller sections to match with the commands present in the computer database. Again, the response is released from the computer which is suitable as per the caller’s query. This technology is more active in present scenario as it gives better experience to customers as they do not have to remember the options of IVR menu.

Text to speech technology is basically used for deriving an output from IVR system. In this technology, the computer uses built-in pronunciation system and dictionary for creating a suitable response from the set of words present in the system.

Choosing the Right IVR System

While choosing IVR services, a company must make sure that IVR development service provider is a renowned firm of this domain. The companies must choose the IVR system which is able to integrate easily with the software present in the organization.

Also, a good IVR system allows the company to alter the options as per the modifying demands of the business. The perfect IVR system also possesses the features like text to speech conversion and automated speech recognition which are necessary to facilitate the customers. An IVR system must also be able to collect the data of the customer which can be stored in the database and utilized at further stages.

Designing the Appropriate IVR Menu

While designing the IVR system for meeting the self-help related requirements of the customer, companies must allow the customers to contact the agents at any level of menu. The companies must not do the mistake of programming the IVR in which the call of the customer gets disconnected when invalid attempts by caller reach the maximum limit.

After designing, the companies must test the system on people which are not part of the IVR designing process or customer service process. They will help in providing better feedback related to effectiveness and user-friendliness of the IVR system. Make sure to avoid loops in the menu which may cause confusion among the callers.

Doing the research on end users is also important while designing the IVR. This will help in identifying the language along with levels of options for the IVR menu.

Benefits and Applications of IVR

IVR is associated with a myriad of benefits and applications which include:

• Companies can analyze the degree of satisfaction of a customer by conducting surveys through phone using outbound IVR.
• Companies can decrease the dependency on call center agents as consumers can resolve their queries through IVR itself.
•  It gives more satisfaction to customers as they do not have to wait for customer service agents for basic queries.
• IVR routes the call to the most appropriate agent on the basis of option chosen by the customer.
• By choosing the suitable greeting messages, company is able to represent itself to the customers in more professional manner.
• Companies, NGOs and government agencies can deliver the message to the target audience easily without need of agents through Outbound IVR System.
• IVR comes with feature of scalability which ensures that any number of calls can be handled by through this technology.
• Customers can check the status of the order easily through IVR.
• The technology remains operational 24 x 7 which ensures that customers can contact anytime.

As a whole, IVR will keep on improving the standards of companies from different dimensions through its multiple facets.

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