Your Guide to Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR is a technology that allows communication between humans and a phone system through the use of Dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) tones. In simple terms when you call a number and instead of a human voice it is a voice of a system. The automated voice that we hear on the phone that provides direction to the caller is termed as IVR. For an example, the voice that you hear when you call a customer service executive of your mobile operator. The voice will initially instruct you to opt for certain options through the keypad and it will solve your queries through a series of steps which needs to be followed by the caller. Even if the customer’s queries are not solved through this medium then there is an option where the IVR directs you to a live agent.

More and more companies are opting for this method of interaction with its customers because it provides ample benefits which can be listed as:

  1. IVR systems is hugely beneficial for companies in cutting down on their live calls which has helped in reducing costs and has enabled the staffs to focus on other business areas. This has allowed companies to expand their hours of business without the need for live agents.

  2. IVR system has benefited the callers by allowing them access to personalized information and providing them the right direction to a specific department. This information’s can be accessed without any delay and without any assistance from a human.

  3. The call queue times can easily be reduced with the IVR as they can be transferred to other departments through the menu selection process.

  4. With the installation of IVR the customer service representatives experience lower volume of calls. This allows the representative to manage their calls more effectively and they can focus on other tasks at hand.

  5. Implementing a good quality IVR system, companies will be able to extend their call capacity and revert to larger call volumes through an effective and correct management and routing of all the calls which in turn reduces the cost per call ratio.

  6. Companies that accept payments through telephonic Interactive Voice Response Systems can fully customize this task, allowing the customers to process their payment transaction anytime during the day and night.

  7. When the call volumes are high and the caller is on hold the IVR allow companies to highlight their new services, discount rates, product information etc.,

  8. Through the daily call activity report companies are able to monitor the call transactions.

  9. Through IVR you have access to the company 24*7 even during the festive seasons.

  10. The caller can opt out of IVR anytime and chose to speak to a live agent

  11. IVR system can be tailor made for wide range of services and requests for information. Below is the mentioned list where IVR is used:

    1. Telesales
    2. Call recording solutions & Call routing
    3. Bill collection & Bill Reminder
    4. Package and order status tracking
    5. Voicemail services and Voice instant messaging
    6. Virtual agents and receptionists
    7. Market survey of customers
    8. Account information of customers
    9. Automatic account payment system
    10. Emergency notifications
    11. Banking service for funds transfer
    12. Automated call center
    13. The list is endless

Putting things simply IVR systems allows callers to communicate with your company via its phone.

IVR and its Categories

IVR comes with two types and the clients can opt for any of these options.

1) Customer Precise Equipment (CPE) – This equipment is purchased by the client it is then located, hosted and maintained at the site of the customer. This is comparatively an expensive way to use the system. It is expensive due to its hardware and installation cost .Those companies that have the necessary finances can always opt for purchasing but however they come with a few drawbacks. Maintaining a CPE IVR requires a continued technical support followed by its maintenance either from the internal staff or from an outsource provider of IVR systems. They also come with an advantage and that it allows full control of the system which can assist in future expansion of your business.

2) IVR Hosting – If the customer opts for IVR hosting through a service provider instead of installing the system in their premises which is restricted by location, IT premise and lacks the finances to purchase the system then this IVY system can be customized according to the requirements of the clients. This is especially beneficial for all sized firms which can avail these services at a cost effective rate. The small sized firms can take full advantage of the features of IVR without indulging in any sort of technical or maintenance support.

It is up to the client to decide. If the clients wish to purchase the IVR system then it is highly suggested for them to seek guidance from experts. These decisions involve a great deal of deliberation for which the clients have to undergo a series steps before coming down to a conclusion, while seeking advice from experts is one of them. However, it is imperative for clients to consider many factors before availing any of the above. The factors that they should keep in mind are the budget, the amenities required to maintain the equipment like the IT and Maintenance support amongst others.

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Posted in Call Center Outsourcing.