interactive voice response IVR

IVR – Interactive Voice Response

What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

IVR (interactive voice response) is a feature of an automated business phone system that interacts with callers and collects information by presenting them with a menu of options. It then takes actions based on the caller’s responses via the telephone keypad or voice response.

The IVR’s activities are determined by the caller’s choices: it can deliver information or, if the problem is more complex, it can direct callers to a human agent who can better manage their needs.

You’ve probably encountered an IVR if you’ve ever dialed a business phone number and been greeted by an automated greeting that then continued to connect with you via a pre-recorded message.

What is the purpose of interactive voice response (IVR)?

Companies or contact centers typically utilize IVRs to route calls based on the choices made by the caller. It can detect whether the caller wants to speak with the billing department, the technical support team, or simply a human operator based on these options.

It’s also utilized to provide vital information or instructions, such as promotions, updates, or other important information.

One example is informing callers that their calls would be recorded and asking if they want to continue.

It was formerly solely used to arrange call center call queues. IVR systems, on the other hand, have come a long way since their inception and are now commonly utilized to automate simple tasks and provide callers with self-service alternatives. This is to address basic consumer demands and questions that are typically handled by call center personnel.

The following are some examples of processes that IVRs can presently perform:

  • Inquire about the balance of your account.
  • Account details can be accessed
  • PIN numbers can be set or passwords can be changed.
  • Look something up (product price, directory, etc.)
  • Fill out lead forms and questionnaires as needed.
  • Make modest payments or make a money transfer.

How does an interactive voice response system (IVR) work?

IVR technology used to be quite difficult to set up. Not only are the needs costly, but getting them to operate together used to be a difficult task. Traditional IVRs, in reality, required the following before they could function:

IVR (interactive voice response) software.

This is independent of the main communications platform (on-premise or cloud-based phone system) and requires its own hardware to function. It required a phone service (PSTN or VoIP phone system), a database (from which information could be retrieved), and its own infrastructure, which included numerous servers.
To get the interactive voice response, or IVR, software to operate, you needed to install it on a separate computer and use a telephony card, which is specialized hardware that allows you to integrate hardware components into a computer.

To top it off, because it was a sophisticated piece of technology with its own proprietary programming language, it required an expert to setup and set it up.

Of all, all of it is in the past. Only call center software providers who are trapped in the past think these are still cool.

IVRinteractive voice response, often known as voice portals, is automatically integrated into modern cloud contact center solutions like Ublux. The cloud provider manages all of the components required to make the technology operate, such as telephony, databases, and servers.

This implies that separate software, in-house infrastructure, and specialists whose sole job is to maintain and administer the IVR are no longer required. When compared to standard IVRs, this should result in significant cost savings.

It also works well with other important features like automatic call distribution because it’s integrated (ACD).

Here’s how a simple IVR integrates with your contact center’s other features:

When a call is received and answered by the ACD’s auto-attendant, your IVR takes over and displays the phone menu to the caller.
The caller interacts with the interactive voice response (IVR) phone menu. A menu of alternatives is offered to callers. To communicate with your caller, most IVR systems use dual-tone multi-frequency tones, or DTMF tones, which is just a fancy way of stating it uses the caller’s touch-tone phone keypad.

Voice response with speech recognition has also been implemented in newer cloud contact centers’ IVR functionality, allowing callers to engage with the system using their own voice.
The caller’s query or reason for calling can be resolved through the IVR self-service process as they traverse the menu. If not, the IVR will sort the call into a category. This is the qualification step, after which the skills-based routing function will be activated. IVR enables the system to find agents who are qualified to handle the caller’s requirements. The call is then routed to a certified live agent who is available.

What exactly is an IVR menu?

The IVR menu is a response system that assists clients in navigating the IVR. The caller can use it by pushing the touch-tone dialpad or by speaking, whatever option is configured into the IVR.

It’s a phrase you’ve undoubtedly heard a million times. “Press 1 for customer service or 2 for technical assistance,” for example. If you recognize those lines, you’re familiar with the basics of an IVR menu.

It’s also known as a phone tree because it has multiple tiers (or branches, if you will). Depending on how deep you program your IVR, one option can lead to two or three more.

Of course, keeping the IVR menu or phone tree as minimal as possible is recommended. However, it is still dependent on your company’s requirements.

What’s the best way to set up your IVR?

Previously, setting up an IVR was a difficult task. Setting up an IVR isn’t as difficult now that it’s included in a cloud-based call center solution.

Ublux, in particular, makes it simple even for those who have no prior programming experience.

The IVR platform may be customized using a simple drag-and-drop interface that you can access from your web browser.

Without relying on an expert, you and your team may create and adapt the IVR menu and call flow in the way you think best serves your clients. As a result, operational costs are reduced.

What are the advantages of using IVR?

Adopting a modern IVR function into your contact center can provide a number of benefits and advantages to your company.

Here are a few of the most popular:

As a result, greater customer service is provided.

Nobody enjoys squandering their time. When someone phones a call center, though, this is exactly what can happen. There’s the long wait for a live agent, the long hold periods because the agent isn’t completely prepared to handle an issue, and the repeated transfers between departments.

Worst-case scenarios would be when their worry remained unresolved after all.

Every stage in the IVR should have a purpose if it is properly built. The IVR can either offer callers with the information they need or determine their needs so that they are transferred to the appropriate agent the first time.

This improves the first contact resolution (FCR) rate and eliminates the need for customers to call back.

Customers will believe that picking your firm is not a waste of time and money as a result.

The greatest systems are highly adaptable, giving you a wide range of options for personalizing your IVR interactions with callers. This includes custom company greetings that you can alter on a regular basis.

You can also link personal information with the caller’s phone number or account number when you integrate it with your customer relationship management system, and the IVR can address them by their name.

There’s also the option of scripting the IVR menu in multiple languages so that callers can select the one that suits them best.

The options are practically limitless.

Assists you in presenting a more professional image.

IVR systems were once prohibitively expensive. That doesn’t even take into account the hardware and infrastructure required to support it. That’s why many consumers still identify IVRs with enterprise-level systems that can only be used by large organizations.

That is no longer the case with the cloud.

Most cloud contact center solutions now incorporate IVR, and they’re also less expensive than their on-premise counterparts.

As a result, whether you have a small or mid-sized firm, you can use an enterprise-level IVR system to help you project a more professional image without breaking the budget.

Increases agent productivity and morale

IVR is not intended to take the place of human agents. It was created to make the life of your call center agent a lot easier.

The number of calls handled by agents would be reduced if an automated IVR could answer many of the common questions.

Call centers can be overburdened by a high amount of inbound calls if they don’t have a robust IVR in place, resulting in agents receiving calls they aren’t prepared to handle. As a result, agents become agitated since they are unsure how to address customers’ issues. Frustration causes stress and dissatisfaction. The next thing you know, you’ve had a bunch of indifferent and unproductive employees on the verge of quitting.

By handling simple queries, an IVR that has been properly set up can reduce the number of calls handled by agents. It also works in tandem with the skill-based routing function to guarantee that agents only get calls that they are qualified to handle.

As a result, call center agents are more efficient, productive, and happy.

Availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

The best thing about IVR is that it doesn’t require humans to function. Unless otherwise specified, it will continue to function once programmed.

This implies that, unlike humans, it does not require sleep or rest. Customers can contact your firm at any time of day or night, and an automated greeting will greet them, and depending on how it’s developed, it may even be able to conduct small transactions.

Reduces the number of manual errors
IVRs, like humans, are not prone to errors because they are automated. When you hire a human receptionist to handle your company’s inbound calls, the situation is rather different.

Aside from the risk of being overwhelmed by high call volumes, manual call handling can also result in mistakes, such as calls being routed to the incorrect department or agent.

When your contact center is equipped with an IVR system, all calls are routed through the phone menu in the same logical order. This eliminates the need for people to make judgment calls, which is the source of many call-handling errors.

You gain the benefit of knowing that each caller gets the same IVR experience every time by automating how your organization receives calls.

What function does IVR play in the customer experience?

The entire quality of your customer’s exposure to your organization is what customer experience is all about.

It’s critical to maintain a great customer experience in order to keep your business afloat. Consumers that are pleased with their experience are more likely to become loyal customers. Customers that have had a favorable experience with your firm can become brand ambassadors, which can lead to new customers.

So, what function does IVR play in all of this?

If you think about it, your IVR could be their first point of contact with your business. As a result, whenever kids have questions or concerns that need to be addressed, it might establish the tone of your connection with them.

A well-designed and well-structured IVR system can help your customers get off to a good start.

To give you some ideas, here are a few ways you may use Ublux IVR feature to improve customer satisfaction.

Transactions and processes for self-service

Delivering what the consumer requires as promptly as possible is one of the quickest strategies to boost customer satisfaction. And what could be faster than a consumer being able to obtain the answer they require on their own?

Customers no longer have to endure long wait periods and hold times, or even engage with agents, when self-service solutions are implemented for simple tasks and transactions.

This has the added benefit of eliminating these straightforward tasks from the agents’ plates. As a result, they are able to take on more complex issues that the IVR is unable to handle.

IVRs with effective skills-based call routing also assist agents in providing a better customer experience.

How? Only send them calls that they’re capable of handling.

Companies can assign talents to their call center workers using the cloud contact center’s intelligent routing capability.

The caller’s issues and the abilities required to remedy them can be determined through a series of IVR menu options.

The call will be directed to the agent who is best qualified to handle the issue based on that information.

As a result, the likelihood of a caller being connected to an agent who is unable to address their inquiries is reduced, potentially resulting in a negative customer experience.

Natural language processing and speech recognition

Advanced IVR is no longer confined to a touch-tone keypad response from the phone keypad. You can utilize natural language processing to enable speech recognition technology. It acts like a conversational AI (artificial intelligence) system that analyzes the caller’s voice for keywords and concepts to identify why they’re calling.

This is especially useful for visually impaired consumers who may have trouble browsing the IVR menu using the telephone touchpad.

Hours of operation

Customizing how the IVR handles calls during business hours and after business hours is another approach to build client expectations.

You can show an alternative set of phone menus if you don’t have enough staff to handle consumer concerns after business hours. This should preferably be a condensed version of your regular menu. It may not even offer the opportunity to speak with an agent, instead providing an automated message instructing consumers to leave a voicemail or call back during business hours.

Customers will not anticipate the same level of attention if they phone during business hours in this manner.

Integrations with many applications

Ublux, allow you to interface the IVR with your company’s various apps. This opens up a lot of doors. Consider the following scenario:

The IVR can extract more information and better customer classification using a customer relationship management system or CRM integration, which will help the system match him or her to the correct agent.
Callers can get updates on their accounts, purchases, or transactions without having to talk to an agent if back-office systems are coupled with interactive voice response.
Payment gateway integrations provide automatic payment choices over the phone without the need to speak with a person.

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