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What is IVR (Interactive Voice Response)? Definition, Usecases and FAQs

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What is IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. It is an automated phone system technology with call routing capabilities. It also facilitates customers interacting with a computer before getting in touch with a call center agent to identify the customers’ needs before they are connected to the agent best equipped to handle their concerns.
IVRs handle inbound phone calls by gathering information on calls and their inquiry before automatically transferring them to the correct department. IVR systems are known to save time and money by reducing hold times and handle times and requiring a smaller workforce.

How does IVR work in a call center?

When a customer calls a call center that uses IVR, they hear a prerecorded voice menu. They navigate this menu manually, using the keypad or verbally. They are routed to a live agent whose department handles the customer’s query type.
With this smart routing system, customer calls are divided aptly across departments and agents best suited to address their call. This saves time and increases first call resolution as agents are only routed calls that align with their skill level and expertise.

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What are the features of the IVR system?

Collects information about callers

IVRs collect information about callers and their needs before routing them to an agent. This ensures the call can be routed to the right department and the agent best qualified to answer this call.

Automates customer support

IVR systems can allow customers to solve their problems/concerns by obtaining information through IVR. In some cases, callers don’t have to speak with an agent at all. This will also reduce costs significantly as the call center may require a smaller workforce with IVR than they would have without it.

Easily handles large call volumes

Call centers can easily handle a large volume of calls when using IVR. This also reduces the number of time callers needs to wait in a call queue before being connected to a call center agent.

Prioritizes calls based on the value

IVR systems can prioritize calls based on a caller’s value. When high-value customers call, IVR routes them to the best and most qualified agents to meet their requirements. Additionally, high-value customers/callers will always be placed at the front of the waiting queue if all the agents are busy

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What are the advantages of using IVR in your Call Centre?

The following are a few benefits of employing IVR in your call center:

Facilitates Self-service Customer Service

IVR often allows customers to self serve as its system can provide essential information to callers as soon as they make the call. This means that customers can be tended to even at times outside of regular business hours, or at times no agents are available.

Increases Professionalism 

Using IVR systems, organizations can professionally greet customers, improve the company’s brand image, and make it seem like a larger corporation than it is.

Increases Agent and Call Center Efficiency

By routing calls to the agents who are best equipped to respond to them, IVR reduces handle time and the likelihood of calls being transferred. This increases agent productivity and call center efficiency as a whole.

Increases First Contact/Call Resolution (FCR)

FCR is one of the most important performance indicators of a call center as it measures the number of customer support calls that were successfully resolved without the need for returning a call or transferring it to another agent. With IVR, agents are only dealt with calls that they are best equipped to respond to, increasing FCR significantly.

Increases Customer Satisfaction

Call centers are usually set up with the main goal of improving customer satisfaction. With IVR, call centers have a higher FCR, improving CX and customer satisfaction as customers’ concerns will be addressed quicker and more effectively.

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What is the IVR System used for in a call center?

These are a few additional use cases for IVR systems:

For extended Business Hours and Self-service

IVR systems enable self-service and can help customers answer common questions they may have through information from pre-recordings without the need of an agent. Hence, this keeps the call center partly serviceable even outside regular working hours.

For Password Resets

IVR systems can be used for call caller authentication, and password resets. It can also be used for almost any change a caller wants to make to their account.

For surveys

Using IVR systems, call centers can create automated IVR surveys that help organizations collect caller data and feedback through quick and easy questionnaires. This is a cost-effective method of collecting feedback as it is automated and may not require agents.


FAQs on Interactive Voice Response

Inbound IVR means that the IVR system is handling incoming calls. Outbound IVR means that the system is dialing outcalls. Inbound IVR is often used for business phone systems, 24/7 self-service, and call routing. Outbound IVR is generally used for reminder calls or telephone surveys.

IVR systems only require a computer connected to a phone line through a telephony board/card and a dedicated IVR software. IVR systems are cost-effective and don’t require expensive infrastructure to be set up.

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