What does an IVR do?
An IVR is an automated inbound telephony solution which interacts with callers, and can gather information e.g. security details, then route that call appropriately. Key inputs can be voice input or touch tone keypad from the callers phone which enable the IVR to route calls accordingly to assist the caller with their query. An IVR system simplifies incoming call handling for businesses.
High Volume call centres use IVR systems which allow callers to resolve straightforward customer service interactions by themselves, over the phone, without ever having to speak to a live agent. An IVR or Interactive Voice Response system isn’t just used to respond to a caller’s inquiries, but are now being used in entirely new ways e.g for surveys, polls, promotions, payments, brand awareness, self service and more. The customers can use the dial pad to respond to key questions, or they can get help through speech recognition technologies.
How an Interactive Voice Response system works
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans using voice commands or tones from a phone keypad in DTMF, or Dual Tone Multifrequency format. IVR’s allow the caller to enter an identity or account code, which then provides access to a database. This is the interactive part and good examples are Banks which often have IVR systems that allow you to conduct banking transactions. The IVR system allows the organisation to set up pre recorded greetings and messages, along with menu options allowing the caller to interact and be guided through the desired transaction, without human intervention.
A typical IVR system has several menus of prerecorded options that the caller can choose from, meaning the system will provide an interactive response appropriate to the callers voice or DTMF phone key input.
IVR systems for Inbound Call Handling
IVR Systems are used to simplify processes with regards inbound call handling. They are used in many applications to simplify the handling of high volumes of inbound calls. Sales order forms, marketing surveys, doctors surgeries, bank balances and transactions, self help and many more.
Inbound callers will automatically be directed to the agent or department that is most capable of handling their call or will be placed in a queue when all agents are busy, with relevant information fed back as to position in the call queue. Some IVR systems allow the caller an option of having an agent return their call rather than waiting in a queue.
What are the key features an IVR Solution?
IVR technology enables businesses to automate many aspects of the service they provide in their call centre. Using an IVR system means that many incoming calls can be handled without the caller having to speak to an agent. Improving the service offered to callers and freeing up call centre agents’ time so they can deal with more complex enquiries, is accomplished by best use of the many features available in cloud based call centre IVR solutions, such as:
- ACD with Call Distribution Algorithms
- Skills Based Routing
- Priority Routing
- Screen Popping
- Queue Callback
- Intelligent reconnect
- Time of Day Routing
- Voicemail Routing & Transcription
- Incoming Call Whisper & Monitor
- Text to Speech & Automated Speech Recognition
- In Queue Position & Estimated Wait Times
- Post Call Surveys
- CRM Integrations
- Call Recording & Storage
- Easy to Use Administration Tools
- Historical, Real-Time & Custom Reports
Skilled call centre managers and their employees make best use of these features and more, to make the IVR and inbound call handling experience as easy and customer friendly as possible for their callers.
Differences between IVR, ACD and Auto Attendant systems
Are IVR systems ever referred to using different terminology? Yes, they may occasionally be referred to as Auto Attendants or Voice Response Units or ACD’s or phone trees or auto receptionists or virtual receptionists. All essentially route incoming calls to the correct agent, menu, response or extension.
An auto attendant is generally considered basic in the sense that all it can do is route calls. Most hosted VoIP phone systems nowadays have an auto attendant capability. The auto attendant can have several different parameters, such as day/night mode, open/closed hours but the call’s final destination is a call queue, a ring group, an external number or a voicemail box. An auto attendant can also play hold music, or pre recorded information while it routes the call.
An IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system is the more advanced version of an auto attendant. IVR’s are great for handling automated tasks that involve numbers and simple yes/no answers. For example, if you call the bank, you can pay by phone by entering the numbers in your checking account. Or you might follow up a technical support call with a survey, on a graded scale, of how well your call was handled. They save companies time and money as they shorten call queues by handling simple interactions. This definition explains the meaning of Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, and how they work, how they used and what benefits they can provide to a call centre.
An IVR can take the callers ID info, and through integration with other stored information, offer proactive services. For example, a takeaway delivery can identify you by your number, and ask you to “press x if you would like the same delivery order as last time sent to your address’. The caller hears this but can call different keys should they wish a different order, and then they hear confirmation requests should they want to save this new option.
ACD or Automatic Call Distribution
ACD Systems answer large volumes of incoming calls and allow the caller to choose a menu, group of extensions or singular extensions to which the call is routed. An ACD or automatic call distribution system is used in large call centres to describe the system of arranging incoming calls into queues of callers waiting to speak with an operator or service person or employees with specific skills.
ACD routing is determined based on several factors, each of them programmable, such as time of the day, call traffic volume, the originator’s phone number, the skill levels required to solve the query and more.
Integration with CRM systems enables agents prior to engaging with customers to have screen pop ups put client information at their fingertips, so that they can better understand the context of the incoming interaction and therefore deliver a more personalised experience.
Key Benefits of an IVR system
IVR, ACD and Auto Attendants can be used across many different sectors, and deliver numerous benefits.
- Reduce caller waiting time by automating the handling of routine calls
- Interactive voice prompts as well as menu based routing of calls
- Collect caller information
- Offer callers the choice of whether to wait for an agent or choose the automated service
- Prioritize callers
- Increase professionalism and company image by ensuring that callers do not get a ‘busy’ signal
- Calls can be intelligently routed between different call centres irrespective of location
- Promote your brand by playing appropriate music or marketing messages whilst callers are on hold
- Route calls intelligently depending on the time of day
- Maintain a 24/7 service without live agents required to be available round the clock or route calls to voicemail or an answering service out of hours
- Quick and easy disaster recovery call diversion if the unknown should happen
- Improve the customer journey when handling inbound calls
- Reduce operational costs
Gulaga Networks can help you in identifying the correct IVR solution for your high volume inbound call handling needs. When it comes to requiring a new IVR solution provider in the UAE, be sure to get in touch with the Gulaga Networks team. Having provided businesses with the best IVR or Interactive Voice Response services for a number of years, we have developed a well known reputation for the service that we provide. At Gulaga Networks, we pride ourselves on offering a reliable and stable and cost effective service.
What is IVR?
IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response system, and is essentially a telephony menu system that enables the callers dial pad to be used for identification, segmentation and routing of the caller to the most appropriate menu or agent to deal with the query.
How does an IVR system work?
An IVR is special hardware and software set up to understand the DTMF signals produced by a phone, or the simple voice commands of the inbound caller. The IVR software allows you to pre record greetings and menu options such that a caller can select them using the telephone keypad, or by inputting voice commands. These inputs then guide the Voice response system to the next action in their pre programmed menus.
How can an IVR system improve my inbound call handling?
Call handling can be improved by helping customers solve their own issues quickly, by speeding up the time to answer inbound calls, and by routing calls to the appropriately skilled individuals or teams to deal with the inbound callers specific query.
Is an IVR the same as an Auto Attendant?
An IVR is typically a more advanced version of an auto attendant. Where Auto Attendants typically follow menu choices, an IVR will provide interaction based on a callers voice response or details they enters on the key pad.
What does IVR stand for?
IVR stands is an acronym for Interactive Voice Response System.