IVR System for Contact Centers

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Market research 04 12

Introduction to IVR System

Today, 40 percent of customers prefer phone support over any other form of customer service.

Since the experience consumers have when calling your company determines their future relationship with your brand, your call center is vital to your customer service strategy. You’ll be more effective in delighting and maintaining your customer base if you regularly add value and reduce friction in these interactions.

Implementing an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) device is one way to improve t he call center experience. This program adds a self-service component to your call center’s operations, allowing customers to find solutions to their problems more quickly.

Are you unsure whether or not an IVR device is suitable for you? Continue reading to know more about them.

What's an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System?

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is a technology that allows businesses to communicate with customers using pre-recorded voice messages and DTMF inputs via a keypad to automate inbound calls. An interactive voice response system (IVR) communicates with callers, collects some basic information, and routes calls to the appropriate agents.

Calls are routed more easily to your contact center with an IVR setup. It’s a self-service menu that consumers are provided with if they call your support line. They are linked with a representative who specializes in resolving their particular problem as soon as they choose one of the options offered.

When you call a company, for example, you might be told to “press one for sales inquiries” or “press two for payment inquiries.” This is an example of interactive voice response (IVR) system, which is a standard feature of most call center applications.

The explanation for the widespread use of IVR survey software is clear. Customers have higher standards for customer service, and IVR systems assist support teams in providing timely responses to customers. An IVR system can help you not only reduce response times by functioning as an automated answering system, but it can also reduce average case length by connecting customers with service representatives who are best suited to solve their problems.

That’s not everything, though. A well-optimized IVR can also accomplish the following, among other things:

  • Assist customers in resolving their own problems, such as answering FAQs, making payments, and checking account status.
  • Provide timely relevant information through recorded messages, such as updating delivery information, announcing opening hours, and sending product announcements.
  • Immediately route a caller to the appropriate agent – reduces transfers, reconnects dropped calls, and provides assistance with specialty issues.

Why Do Businesses Need IVR?

For various industries, an IVR survey software solution has a range of advantages. Customers may use a banking IVR, for example, to check their bank balance thus freeing up time for customer service representatives to handle more pressing issues. When combined with auto call backs, an IVR solution can help improve customer service performance, manage incoming call spikes, and raise customer loyalty. It has the potential to improve your customer experience if set up correctly.

You’ll almost certainly need an IVR if you call almost every inbound call center. Since the benefits are so important, this is particularly true for enterprise-scale call centers.

IVR has a number of main advantages, including:

  • Cost-cutting – IVR will serve consumers for a lot less money than agents can.
  • Improved customer experience – as more calls are automated, queue times decrease drastically.
  • Improved contact center agent experience – call patterns that are dull and boring are minimised.
  • Overall, a good IVR will make customer service easier, quicker, and less expensive.

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Which services can IVR automate in a call center?

Different types of customer service may be automated using an IVR.

They are as follows:

Routing of phone calls.

IVR was first used to link each customer to the appropriate agent. 

A client, for example, will need to speak with a member of the sales team rather than support.

Making an appointment.

A customer may need to arrange a follow-up call or a face-to-face meeting. 

Customers may, for example, use IVR to schedule a technician visit to their home.

Information requests are made.

IVR systems have often been able to provide simple details such as store working hours. They can also access information that is unique to them, such as a delivery date, thanks to computer telephony integration.

Making payments is a must.

Customers may use IVR to make transactions, settle bills, or set up an ongoing payment structure when it is incorporated with a payment system.

Personal data is being updated.

Customers can now change their personal information without having to talk to an agent thanks to IVR integration.

How do customers interact with IVR?

Customers can interact with IVR using two methods: DTMF and natural language processing.


If you’ve ever heard anything like “press 1 for support, press 2 for sales, etc.,” you’ve heard DTMF.

DTMF is an acronym for Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency.

Basically, pressing a key on your phone produces a specific tone. The sound indicates to the IVR system which key you pressed and thus which choice you made.

Natural language processing:

Modern IVRs often request that you speak your question aloud.

The machine will understand what you’re thinking because of natural language processing.

Many systems that use natural language processing also allow users to choose from a list of options using their keypad.

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Text to talk:

It's always a good idea to inquire about whether or not your IVR charges include any text-to-talk facilities. It's just what it sounds like: text to speech. To set up text-to-speech prompts for your IVR device, simply type in the prompt (for example, "Please press 4"), and then choose from a menu of voices to say it. This form of service eliminates the need to employ a voice actor or do the recordings in-house, giving your IVR device a professional and consistent tone. You can also inquire about any restrictions to any included text-to-talk services, as well as any limitations on the number of recordings you can make or the frequency at which you can update your menus.

Cloud or onsite:

In on-premise IVR, the IVR system is hosted in the cloud, and the provider is responsible for the upkeep and control of telecommunications and servers. On-site IVR, on the other hand, combines with a company's current telecommunications networks, and the company is responsible for maintaining those systems. Most businesses now provide cloud-based IVR, and unless your company has compelling reasons to keep your device on-site, it's probably better to go for a hosted solution.

Inbound and/or outbound:

Inbound and outbound IVR services are the two most common categories. Inbound IVR systems handle incoming calls, while outbound IVR systems make calls using either completely or partially automatic dialing. Many businesses provide both inbound and outbound IVR services, but inbound-only IVR services are usually less costly than outbound IVR services. Make sure you know what kind of IVR functionality you need before you shop.

Dashboard and analytics:

Request a preview of the software system's dashboard and inquire about choices for accessing analytics and pulling reports before signing up for an IVR programme. Viewing the dashboard ahead of time should give you an idea of how simple it will be to access and modify your IVR device. Before making a final decision, think about any data reports that could be valuable for your business and ask about those reports.

Speech recognition:

IVR systems with built-in speech recognition enable users to respond to questions by speaking aloud rather than using the phone's keypad. A simple touch tone system would likely work if your organisation requires a basic IVR system to route calls in your office and provide basic information such as your location and hours of operation. Speech recognition systems are typically more expensive than simple touch tone systems, but they're well worth the investment if your IVR requirements are more complex.


When an IVR provider advertises "self-service" IVR, it typically means that the product or service is designed for simple inbound calling. Many businesses have extensive IVR services as well as separate, less expensive self-service IVR options. Self-service is possibly the best option if your company only requires quick call routing or bill payment and no outbound calling. It should be noted that speech recognition is not available in many self-service options.


In the absence of an integrated IVR system, a caller who is redirected to a live person must tell them who they are, what their customer ID is, and other pertinent details. The live customer service representative would then have to search the CRM or database for the customer's background. A customer calling in to an automated system, on the other hand, might say (or type) their name or password, and the IVR system would immediately access their details.

For automated bill payment via IVR services, integration is essential. It's also beneficial for providing better customer support in general, as it allows clients to access their own information and representatives to access information for the client they're dealing with.

The sections below can assist you in successfully installing an IVR system that improves your team's workflow and enhances the customer experience.


While an IVR system may provide better call routing, self-service support options, and call resolution speed, it might not be right for your company in some situations. It’s possible that you don’t have a broad enough customer base to meet this demand, or that your current approach doesn’t allow for this form of automated response. 

As a result, before you adopt an IVR system, you should understand how much of an effect it would have on your call center operations.

Here are some steps you can take to acquire the deep understanding.

Take a look at the Caller's Journey.

To improve the call center's customer service, you need to know what your current callers are going through. This entails putting yourself in the shoes of your callers. Try putting the system to the test by:

  • Making practise calls and communications.

  • Keeping track of how the calls are routed and how long it takes for them to be routed.

  • Investigate how selecting various choices from an IVR menu changes the experience.

Evaluate Your Call Routing.

After getting a taste of the service your call center provides, the next move is to assess the current call routing system.

It could be beneficial to create a structured form to report your results for this assessment. This will make comparing the outcomes of tests conducted at various times much easier. What you want to do is find some obvious flaws in your setup that you can fix in the future to boost your service.

Reviewing Your Call Center Metrics.

You should depend on both data and realistic tests as part of your assessment. IVR systems may have a significant effect on a number of traditional call center metrics. Call abandonment rate, average handling time (AHT), and call containment rate are among them.

An optimised IVR can minimise abandonment and AHT while still having a high call containment rate, which refers to the percentage of calls that are handled entirely by the system's self-service options. You'll have a clear idea of how the current IVR system is affecting your customer experience if you can get a good handle on these metrics.

Scheduling Regular Reviews, When You Make Changes.

It's a good idea to monitor the effects of any improvements you make when implementing a new IVR system or improving an existing one. You should schedule regular reviews of your call center as you make changes and assess how these changes affected the customer experience.

If you're putting in a completely new method, take your time and follow the steps outlined above. Then, compare the new findings to the baseline you kept from your original system.

Collecting Feedback From Your Customer Service Staff.

You'll want to know if anything changes with your activities from day to day, in addition to your scheduled feedback. Your frontline support agents are the right ones to advise you about this. You should make providing input on your IVR system as simple as possible for them.

If you're a boss, you can make yourself available to your employees to talk about any problems they might have. Your feedback collection loop should be fast, and any significant issues should be flagged so that management is aware of them right away. Having a system like this in place allows you to address problems before they become major problems for your customers.

You'll know what you need from an IVR system once you understand the existing call center operations. This puts you in a better position to introduce a new system or improve an existing one.

Read on for some advice on how to make the most of a new IVR system in your call center's support system.


Making Sure Your IVR System Is Flexible.

Depending on the factors affecting your team, your customer service strategy can change. For example, your agents may only be available at certain days, or your hours may differ depending on the day of the week. As a result, the IVR device must be adaptable and inform callers of any service changes.

When someone calls your center when it isn't open, they can hear various messages. Your IVR system should apologise for the inconvenience, then inform callers when your lines will reopen and provide them with other resources for finding answers to their questions. This could include guiding them to your knowledge base or a website-based chatbot.

Provide an Easy Opt-Out.

Often a caller will refuse to use your IVR system or will be unable to access it due to lack of time. That isn't to say their issue or question isn't important. You must also have outstanding customer support to these callers, which includes making it simple for them to "opt-out" of the main call routing scheme.

Provide a menu choice for people to request live assistance right away. This may include moving them to a general hold list for an agent or enabling them to arrange a callback for when an agent becomes available in the future. In any case, it's critical to give each caller control over their own customer experience.

Optimizing Your IVR Call Menu.

The choices that your IVR system provides to callers are important, and you must comply to three principles:

  • The number of choices available
  • The order in which the options are presented is essential.
  • The wording of the choices

An IVR menu should ideally have three or four options. More than that can leave a caller confused, bored, or irritated. If there are fewer, they would wonder why the menu exists in the first place.

The first choices you present should be the ones that are most commonly used. To find these choices, you can use the data from your analytics platforms.

Finally, you should state the necessary action first, followed by its description. For example, "Press one for sales," rather than "Press one for sales inquiries,". This method helps recall and eliminates the need for customers to repeat the entire menu.

Including Succinct & Simple Messages.

The messages that a caller hears through your IVR device should be short and to-the-point. You want to keep it simple and maintain a professional appearance. Make sure there's no background noise or verbal errors if you're recording the messages yourself.

Maintaining clarification is especially important when a caller hears the first conversation. Tell them who they've reached out to and how to access your menu. Don't make things any more difficult than that.

IVR System – A Quick Path to Better Customer Service

Your contact center is the core of many customer interactions and the heart of your customer service efforts. Call center operations must then be of the highest quality, since this is an ideal way to deliver better customer service.

It increases call resolution, reduces call handling times, and boosts customer loyalty. It’s also easier to put into practise than you would expect. A well-optimized IVR may be the difference between success and failure. Everything you have to do is follow the guidelines outlined above.

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Great Research
Fast Insights
Best-in-class ROI

Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries