An interactive voice response (IVR) system is an automated phone system that interacts with callers using prerecorded voice menus or instructions. The system captures the caller’s selections interactive voice response in the form of keystrokes. It redir the call to submenus or to call center agents as appropriate to resolve caller requests.
Why Your Business Needs an IVR
- All call centers have to face two main obstacles in their daily operations.
- One, call volume is by nature highly volatile and is often unpredictable during the holidays.
- Two, hiring more agents without a clear idea of what your call traffic is expensive. Overstaffing creates a situation where resources are left unused while understaffing leads to poor customer service.
- To overcome these obstacles, your business needs a cost-effective, scalable and reliable solution. This is where the IVR becomes a real source of solutions for problems.
- An IVR system equips your business with a number of features that ease the burden on agents while maximizing customer service efficiency.
Call segmentation based on purpose helps quickly redirect callers to the specific department or function most appropriate to resolve their requests. To make call segmentation more useful to callers, multi-level IVR menus can be created for new customers, existing customers, FAQs, language choice, agent connection requests, etc.
Self-Service Customer Service
The IVR acts as a self-service portal that callers can use themselves without the need for agent intervention. It gives them the convenience of being able to access customer support resources at any time of the day or night, weekends, holidays, or even in real-time, at their convenience. To cite an example: Aircall, an online education platform reduced their average call handling time by automatically converting their answers into FAQs with an IVR system.
Mass Call Handling
An individual agent can only take one call at a time. An IVR phone system can handle countless calls simultaneously. Its mass call handling features help the call center keep its KPIs at the right levels, such as average handling time, average abandon rate, resolution rate, etc.
Prioritize Complex Calls
An IVR gives the agent time to handle complex calls that require more interaction with the customer. IVRs also ensure that the call is not related to any common questions that can be resolved with predefined answers. It gives agents time to prepare for complex calls that may require a lot of information gathering, step-by-step instructions, etc.
How IVR Systems Are Set-Up
There are three main ways to set up an IVR system: on-premises, hosted at third-party facilities, or in the cloud. A brief summary of the three IVR implementation modalities follows:
On-premises deployment, that is, on company premises, is the traditional model for setting up an IVR system. The IVR phone system is configured within the organizational data center along with any other phone systems the company is already using.
All of the IVR’s logic, customer data, software, and hardware are housed within the organization’s physical facilities.
In the hosted implementation, the telephony hardware and software are on-premises systems that are owned by the company but are located in third-party facilities. The company remains responsible for purchasing the necessary licenses, software, and devices to operate the call center along with the IVR system.
However, the development and consequent maintenance are managed by the external entity. The services provided by the external entity are usually paid for through a recurring management fee or similar.
Modern IVR systems do not have any software or hardware requirements. They are hosted in the cloud and can be launched immediately, virtually on demand. The relevant IVR logic, software, and hardware, including data centers, are owned and operated by the solution provider.
The solution provider takes care of publishing updates for the software and maintaining the hardware. The business pays the solution provider a recurring fee for the use of the IVR phone system.
The Business Benefits of IVR
Customers have little patience to wait to be connected with a call center agent. They want instant analytics and insights, and real-time support. From a business point of view, this can be problematic.
Especially if the calls are low value or made up of high volume repetitive requests that do not require the exclusive time and attention of an agent. But these low-value calls are important. After all, the commitment of every business is precise to serve its customers in all aspects.
An IVR system helps automate the call handling process by acting as a self-service platform for callers. It helps them find instant solutions to their requests through keystrokes on their devices. For a business, this means less call time spent answering frequently asked questions.